$14 Million Verdict
Curiel v. SSA Marine
Practice Areas:Work Accident
On July 8th, a $13,961,049 verdict was upheld by a Court in Long Beach, California, in favor of 46 year old truck driver Felipe Curiel, against SSA Marine, Inc., the world’s largest maritime docking company. This verdict is believed to be the largest verdict in Long Beach history. Trial lawyers Brian Panish and Spencer Lucas of Los Angeles’s Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented Mr. Curiel in the month long trial.
On February 3, 2009, an SSA Marine crane operator negligently caused a 25,000 pound container to fall from 40 feet high onto Mr. Curiel’s truck cab. Mr. Curiel was crushed and pinned inside his truck and suffered two fractures to his spine. The Long Beach Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue team successfully extricated Mr. Curiel from the wreckage and transported him to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he spent 41 days.
Mr. Curiel suffered a burst fracture in his lumbar spine causing permanent neurological deficits including lower body weakness, sensory loss, and bilateral foot drop. After a successful back surgery Mr. Curiel is able to walk with the assistance of leg braces and a cane. At trial, it was undisputed that Mr. Curiel has chronic pain syndrome and will suffer from pain and physical limitations the rest of his life.
This verdict comes after two major confidential settlements for severe injury and death at SSA’s docks. Brian Panish stated: “The jury as the conscience of this community has spoken. Failure to operate a safe port will not be tolerated. I suggest SSA Marine do something to prevent the deaths and serious injuries that keep occurring at ports they operate.”
After the verdict, SSA brought motions for a new trial and a reduced verdict. In the recent ruling, Hon. Ross Klein held “the evidence at trial was more than sufficient to justify the jury’s conclusion…while the award of general damages is inarguably high, the jury’s conclusion is supported by extensive and credible evidence.”
FELIPE CURIEL V. SSA MARINE INC., et al.
Superior Court of the State of California, Los Angeles County, Long Beach
The Hon. Ross Klein, presiding
Curiel Special Verdict Form