Jeffrey W. Ryan and Jarad L. Kent obtained a take-nothing defense verdict for a hospital in Gregg County, Texas. The Plaintiff, an independent contractor pump technician, was severely burned while performing repair work on two pumps attached to the hospital’s boiler system. Plaintiff sued the hospital claiming that the hospital was negligent in not locking out and tagging out the mechanical aspects of the condensate return system before Plaintiff began his work. Plaintiff sought $2,000,000 in non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and disfigurement. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Kent, on behalf of the hospital, argued that the Plaintiff himself was responsible for negligently performing his repair work without locking out and tagging out the system or without doing anything to verify that the system had been locked out and tagged out before starting the work. After the close of the Plaintiff’s case in chief, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Kent moved for a directed verdict as to the Plaintiff’s contributory negligence, and the Court granted the motion. Therefore, the case was submitted to the jury solely on questions as to whether the hospital exercised some control over Plaintiff’s repair work, whether the hospital was negligent, and the percentage of comparative negligence between the hospital and the Plaintiff. After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a 10-2 verdict finding that the Plaintiff was 80% responsible, and the hospital 20% responsible, resulting in a take-nothing judgment for the hospital. The two dissenting jurors were also in favor of the hospital, but did not believe that the hospital had exercised any control over the Plaintiff’s work.
Attorneys: Jeffrey W. Ryan; Jarad L. Kent