A California man injured by plummeting metal laptop-sized boxes in a Home Depot is seeking roughly $50 million in damages in a recent lawsuit. 54-year-old J.B. argued the accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury with persisting symptoms. The case is currently being tried before a judge in Kern County Superior Court.
J.B., who at the time was managing a cement company, entered the store to buy supplies in 2013. A Home Depot employee on a ladder accidentally dropped two metal boxes from a shelf, and they crashed onto J.B.’s head from a height of approximately eight feet.
During opening statements, J.B.’s attorney dropped the metal cases onto the courtroom floor to emphasize their impact. He further told jurors that J.B.’s medical expenses alone could reach $8 million, and he is unlikely to ever recover from the injury. J.B. argued that aside from sizable medical bills, Home Depot should compensate him for the future emotional toll of symptoms that might worsen for the remainder of his life.
J.B.’s symptoms range from severe pain to anxiety and depression, from memory issues to a diminished capacity for “executive function.” Since 2013, he has been given 60 neurological tests. His attorney explained that it’s nearly impossible to retrain a damaged 54-year-old brain. J.B. has been forced to abandon his business, avoids social situations, drives rarely and only short distances, and has few prospects for new work.
Home Depot has admitted fault for the accident, but claims that J.B.’s injuries are not as serious as he claims and that his symptoms result from untreated psychological issues. Home Depot believes that J.B.’s psychological issues are treatable and that he would be fairly compensated with a $1.3 million award.
On the day of the incident, J.B. told store employees that he was just out of it, but hours later he started experiencing nausea and severe pain. He went to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion. J.B.’s counsel claimed the accident was filmed and reviewed by Home Depot employees, but the footage was no longer available.
Home Depot’s attorney indicated that there was a dispute about the extent of J.B.’s injuries. Many of his symptoms developed in the months after the accident, but with more serious brain injuries, Home Depot argued, most symptoms arise immediately afterward.
Home Depot believes that J.B.’s injuries suggest a mild brain injury, the physical symptoms of which have mostly ceased. The company claimed that J.B.’s current symptoms are primarily psychological, but that he has not pursued treatment for his depression and anxiety.
With just two years of treatment, Home Depot’s attorney argued to the jury, J.B. could be same person he was prior to the injury.
Home Depot has also been handed a number of other lawsuits recently. For example, a May 2018 federal jury trial date was recently set for a lawsuit filed by an Idaho police chief who claims he was injured by a faulty storage rack. Home Depot claims the plaintiff misused the product and therefore was at fault for his injury. In another recent case, an Illinois man sued Home Depot in federal court in Chicago, asserting the company sells lumber in violation of consumer trade laws. And finally, a proposed settlement was submitted to the court for approval in a Home Depot data breach lawsuit.
The current J.B. trial has impacted Home Depot’s stock performance.
The personal injury lawyers at Neumann Law Group represent victims throughout the Los Angeles area. Call us at (213) 227-0001 for a free consultation.
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