$12.75M firefighter award upheld

Feb. 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM
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SEATTLE, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A Washington state appeals court has upheld a $12.75 million jury award to a former Seattle firefighter disabled after falling through a fire-station pole hole.

The Seattle Times said the ruling Tuesday was the second time a court has upheld the 2009 judgment by a King County jury.

In the 2003 accident, Mark Jones was left permanently disabled after he awoke in a dark bunk room at the Seattle Fire Department's Station 33, walked through the wrong door while looking for the restroom and fell through the fire-pole hole to a concrete floor below.

Jones suffered a head injury, 10 broken ribs, fractures to several vertebrae and his pelvis, and lung, bladder and liver injuries, court records said. His suit said the city should have installed guard rails.

Seattle officials and the city's insurance company maintained he had exaggerated his injuries, the Times said, but there was no word on whether they would appeal.

Jones, 48, cried when he learned of the appellate court's verdict, attorney Todd Gardner told the Times.

"This is vindication for Mark," he said. "He's a wonderful man. He's an Air Force veteran, a former police officer and a former firefighter."

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