SETTLEMENT : Fire on construction site
Who is responsible when worksites and projects go awry?
On August 17, 1982, 21-year-old Heidi Denney was working as a cement sealer at Monterey Hills commercial construction site when a spark ignited fumes from the Acri-Sheen material. That point of ignition grew to a massive fire causing irreparable harm to Denney. While emergency crew rescued Denney, she suffered extensive burns and scarring over her body. She spent 14 months in the local hospital and had both feet amputated. Due to the nature of that surgery, Denney was unable to walk on artificial feet and resigned to spending her life in a wheelchair.
Larry Booth served as Heidi Denney’s lawyer and saw this as more than just the standard worker’s compensation suit against an employer. Booth investigated the nature of the fire and saw responsibility for Denney’s injuries lay beyond just normal worksite parameters. Rather, her injuries were a result of both poor work safety standards and products. Booth outlined how elevator equipment sparked a fire and ignited off-gassing fumes from the cement sealer that were not properly vented.
In May 1984, Booth and colleagues negotiated a significantly large cash settlement from four companies they determined responsible for causing the accident. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John. L. Cole approved the settlement with defendants J. K. Carley Crop., general contractor; Hunt Chemical Co., manufacturer of the Acri-Sheen cement sealer that ignited, Stuart Air Conditioning Co., and Denney’s employer, Paul M. Wolff Co.
Booth stated that the cash settlement of $5 million was believed to be the then largest out-of-court cash award for any personal injury case in Los Angeles County. While larger total awards had been paid out via ‘structured’ settlements in which defendants purchase a lifetime annuity benefitting the plaintiff, this settlement made history in lump sum amounts. After accounting for inflation, that $5,000,000 in the year 1984 would be worth around $11,700,000 in 2016.
When I met with Roger, he was honest, genuine, and straight-forward on how we would proceed. Roger took a leap of faith when taking this case. He trusted what I said to be true, and wasn’t afraid to proceed.
– Cynthia Mitchell
“From the moment I contacted Booth & Koskoff from my hospital bed to the eventual settlement of my case, I experienced nothing but outstanding assistance and representation.”
– Claire Rexon
“We felt lucky like we were referred to Booth & Koskoff by someone we trusted. Richard’s professionalism and tenacity showed that he definitely was in our court.”
– John Mahoney
“Because of Roger’s experience and professionalism, I was able to focus on the others things I needed to do for my brother to care for him during this time. He was a godsend, and I would highly recommend Roger and his staff.”
– Penny Vincelli
My family experienced a tremendous loss as a result of my father’s death. During the entire process of investigation and settlement of our case, we were treated with the utmost professionalism by the Booth & Koskoff attorneys and staff.
– Dale Magner
“Mr. Booth did an incredible job resolving the case for us, and we are very thankful for the successful ending to our lawsuit. Thank you for your hard work Mr. Booth. You will always be our family lawyer and friend.”
– Sam Kirakosyan
The lawyers and staff at Booth & Koskoff were efficient, thorough, helpful and always available, even on weekends. I am very pleased with my overall experience, and I would recommend Booth & Koskoff to anyone who needs an excellent attorney.
– Keith Schultz