News & Events

Yarborough Applegate Secures $35.9 Million Verdict For Paralyzed Construction Worker

Posted: December 17, 2014

Yarborough Applegate recently achieved a $35,940,545 verdict against Pepco in Montgomery Co., Maryland Circuit Court, for their client Hugo Hernandez, paralyzed at a Pepco substation on May 6, 2013. The jury awarded our client $869,211 in past medical bills, $45,095 in past wages, $1,080,050 in future wages, $18,946,400 in future medical expenses and $15,000,000 in non-economic damages.

The verdict followed a two-week jury trial argued by lead attorneys William E. Applegate, IV, David B. Yarborough, Jr. and David B. Lail and local counsel Justin Brown of Janet Jenner and Suggs. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever in an injury case in Montgomery Co., Maryland. Post-trial, the verdict was reduced to $21,710,545 due to a $770,000 cap on non-economic damages.

In May 2013, construction worker Hugo Hernandez Palomino was paralyzed from the neck down due to a work-related injury at a Pepco site. Hernandez was working on scaffolding at a Pepco powerhouse in Montgomery County, Maryland when a transformer that he had been told by PEPCO was de-energized electrocuted him. The shock force burned 10% of his body and knocked him off of the scaffolding. He landed on concrete, snapping his spine.

As a result of the accident, Mr. Hernandez is a C-4 ASIA A quadriplegic – permanently paralyzed from the neck down. He can no longer work and will require 24-hour attendant care for the rest of his life.

Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), the defendant in the case, is a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company serves nearly two million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and New Jersey.

After initially denying liability, Pepco and their insurers, AIG and AEGIS, admitted fault but refused to pay for Hernandez’s lost wages and the future medical care costs dictated by his physicians which led to the jury trial.

“They admitted liability but refused to accept responsibility for the harm they caused” said David Yarborough. “Pepco disingenuously stated publicly that they always planned to fairly compensate Mr. Hernandez, yet in court they aggressively defended and litigated this case for the over 18 months.  It was only after the jury verdict and the Court’s indication that it was denying Pepco’s post-trial motions that it finally paid the young man whose life it ruined.”

According to court documents, Yarborough Applegate argued that Hernandez’s future medical care necessitates 24 hours of licensed practical nurse (LPN) care per day. An economist testified that the present value cost of funding Hernandez’s 24-hour LPN and other medical care for the next 52 years is $22.2 – 24.4 million.

“Despite what may be perceived as a very large verdict for Mr. Hernandez, he has been awarded an amount that will be entirely consumed by his medical bills and basic daily needs. Unfortunately, due to the statutory caps on damages in Maryland and the fact that the jury is not informed of the statutory cap, Mr. Hernandez’s award was reduced by over $14 million that the jury had determined to be fair compensation for his injuries,” said attorney William Applegate. “He is, however, very grateful for the verdict and is hopeful the remainder of the award will be paid, and he can begin receiving the care he needs. We’re happy the jury delivered a verdict that can help this young man through a horrible tragedy who simply wants to be properly cared for so he can live a fulfilling life and be a productive member of society.”

Yarborough Applegate is sought after as lead co-counsel in catastrophic and complex injury and commercial cases, not just in their home state, but also across the U.S.

For more information on this verdict, view The Washington Post article.

Disclaimer: The settlements and verdicts shown here should not be considered as a description or characterization of the quality of the firm’s representation and in no way should be interpreted as a guarantee of a specific result or outcome of any particular case. As such, the reader should not rely on the cases below to develop any expectation regarding the value of his or her case.

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