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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

$2.5M jury award for man hurt in fall

November 25, 2009

By Steve Mocarsky
Staff Writer

Corgan Realty was one of defendants in suit filed by Robert Smith of Shavertown.

WILKES-BARRE - A Luzerne County jury last week awarded nearly $2.5 million in damages to a Shavertown man who became disabled as the result of a fall at a Wilkes-Barre Township warehouse in 2002.

The jury awarded Robert Smith $1,687,000 for past and future medical expenses and past and future lost earnings, plus another $803,000 for pain and suffering. The verdict was rendered at about 8 p.m. Friday after four days of trial before Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph Musto.

The defendants in the case were Corgan Realty Co. Inc., 369 Johnson St.; Michael Corgan, individually and as president of the company; and Corgan Contracting Co. Inc., 254 Johnson St., Wilkes-Barre Township. They were represented by attorney Joseph Murphy, of Murphy, Piazza & Genello in Scranton.

Smith's attorney, Donald C. Ligorio, of HKQ Law in Kingston, called the verdict "fair and appropriate" based on Smith's injuries and evidence presented at trial.

"Obviously, my client would prefer to be able to work and lead a normal life, but the injuries he suffered have rendered him unable to do so," Ligorio said. "Hopefully, the compensation awarded by the jury … will provide some peace of mind and security for him and his family."

Smith was working as a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technician for Monk Heating and Air Conditioning Co. of Wilkes-Barre Township when the incident occurred. Monk had been hired by Corgan Contracting to perform work at a warehouse at 369 Johnston St. that was owned by Corgan Realty.

While Smith was working at the warehouse, the suit alleged, the defendants installed a new concrete step unit at the warehouse entrance, but had it placed about a foot away from the threshold of the door so additional work could be completed near the entranceway.

Leaving the building on Nov. 22, 2002, Smith stepped into the foot-wide gap and fell, causing severe and permanent damage to his neck, back and right shoulder. The suit alleged the fall and resulting injuries were caused by the defendants' allowing the dangerous condition to exist, failing to correct it and failing to warn Smith and others about it.

The jury found Corgan Contracting 48 percent responsible, Michael Corgan and Corgan Realty 48 percent responsible and Smith 4 percent responsible.

Ligorio said the verdict could be appealed to a higher court. But if it is, he said, he feels confident it would be upheld.

Attempts to reach Murphy, the defendants' attorney, were unsuccessful.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.

About HKQ Law

HKQ Law is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nine attorneys at HKQ Law were recently named to the 2019 Best Lawyers List and has been designated a Tier 1 Best Law Firm for personal injury, medical malpractice litigation labor law and corporate law in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history on behalf of injured clients. The firm was also recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A. Quinn is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



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