A jury in Houston awarded IBEW Local 66 member and Provost Umphrey client Garett Wilder $15.4 million for life-altering injuries he suffered after falling 50 feet from a CenterPoint electrical pole.
Monday afternoon, jurors found CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC, joint and severally liable, for the injuries sustained by Baytown resident, Garett Wilder. The jury deliberated four hours before returning its verdict in the 269th Judicial District, Harris County Civil Court.
On March 15, 2019, Wilder was safely ascending a CenterPoint electrical pole near the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Tomball, Texas, when the step bolt he was attached to suddenly came out of the pole. The then 27-year-old was unresponsive after falling while a fellow L.E. Myers worker performed lifesaving measures.
“The last thing I remember was the step bolt coming out,” recalls Wilder during the plaintiff’s testimony. “Then I woke up in the hospital.”
Wilder suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, a fracture and fused spine, the shattering of the bones in his feet and ankles as well as other injuries. He has undergone eight complex surgeries and remains at risk for the amputation of one or both of his legs.
“The reality is that Garret’s injuries are so severe, that he will likely never work again, stand or walk normally, enjoy a pain free day or participate in activities of daily living that most of us take for granted” says Provost Umphrey partner, Bryan O. Blevins, Jr.
At the time of the accident, CenterPoint knew that some step-bolts could not be inserted into the pole and that other step bolts were loose but failed to warn Mr. Wilder or his employer, L.E. Myers Co.
“Because of CenterPoint’s negligence, our client will never live a normal life,” says Matthew C. Matheny, Provost Umphrey partner. “I am grateful that the jury righted this wrong and that we were able to recover some relief for Mr. Wilder and his young daughter that will benefit them for years to come.”
Assisting Matheny and Blevins in the case was attorney Daniel D. Horowitz of the Law Office of Daniel D. Horowitz, III.
The case is Garett Wilder v. CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC, Cause No. 2019-31428 in the District Court of Harris County, Texas 269th Judicial District, Judge Cory Don Sepolio presiding.