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Philly Jury Awards $24.8M to Roofer Who Fell Through Skylight

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A jury in Philadelphia has awarded nearly $25 million to a roofer who suffered multiple injuries after falling through a skylight in 2016.

Sean Kalinowski was awarded $24.8 million by a jury that deliberated for more than a day following a month-long trial, according to The Legal Intelligencer. The verdict was reached March 20 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Court documents indicated Kalinowski, who is in his early 40s, was performing roofing work on a building that housed an auto body business in Aston, Pa. when he fell through a skylight and landed on a concrete floor more than 20 feet below. It was determined he likely tripped over a pallet on the roof or skylight mount and crashed through the glass.

He suffered traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures. Since the incident, he has required extensive medical treatment for ongoing issues, including partial blindness. He is married with two minor children.

Attorneys for Kalinowski noted in legal filings that there should have been either guard rails or screens to provide fall protection. Further, attorneys said the defendants were negligent for failing to provide a safe workplace or warn him about the dangerous condition. The defendants in the case were the building owner and the auto body business.

Attorneys for the landlord argued Kalinowski was at least partially to blame since he had previously been on the roof, was a seasoned roofer, and working for his own company during the project.

Concurrently, defense for the auto body business argued it had no liability since Kalinowski was not its employee and he was hired by the landlord.

Per The Legal Intelligencer, however, the jury decided the auto body business was 60 percent negligent, the landlord was 30 percent negligent, and Kalinowski was 10 percent at fault.

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