Construction Site Accident Verdicts
$10.3 Million – Condominium Collapses
In December of 1983, Nance Cacciatore was one of three law firms that secured a $10.3 million settlement for victims of the Harbour Cay Condo that collapsed, resulting in 11 deaths and a number of injuries.
$1 Million – Roof Collapses: First Million Dollar Verdict in Brevard County
In 1971 Nance Cacciatore obtained the first $1 million verdict in Brevard County. A worker was rendered paraplegic when the trusses supporting the roof of a new Sears store failed during a concrete pour and he was crushed by over 200,000 pounds of wet concrete.
The Juliana Mason Case
We at the Nance Cacciatore law firm are all too aware of the dangers of construction sites. When equipment is well maintained, or proper precautions are not put in place, tragic accidents can occur. In one notable case back in 1971 Nance Cacciatore obtained the first $1 Million verdict on behalf of an African American in the United States. The plaintiff Juliana Mason was a concrete worker who was seriously injured when the roof of the Sears building in Melbourne collapsed, causing him to fall some 20 feet. When he awoke, the doctors told him that the news was grim – he was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. The defendants in the case were the building contractors involved in construction of the scaffolding and the roof. There was no settlement offer made before trial. During jury selection, attorneys Jim Nance and Sammy Cacciatore had to deal with many jurors who had deep-seeded prejudice about the prospect of awarding money damages to a black man. The trial lasted over 4 weeks and reporters worked in shifts to cover the story. The jury deliberated for some 33 hours. When the landmark verdict was announced there was an eruption in the courtroom. The headline in the Florida Today newspaper said, “From itinerant cotton picker to millionaire.”
Mason, who was 31 at the time, had grown up in a poverty stricken area around Tuskegee, Alabama. He was the son of itinerant laborers and picked cotton as a boy. He dropped out of school in the 5th grade and moved to Florida to pick oranges. When he landed a construction job making $1.95 an hour, he said, “I was on top of the world. That was more money than I’d ever made before.” Mason promised to give his son opportunities in life that he’d never had growing up. This was a landmark case and the Nance Cacciatore law firm was humbled to assist Mr. Mason.