An LA man suffered a microfracture at work and ended up getting a $58 million payout

For eight years, Lancaster resident Pablo Scipione and his lawyers have pushed for compensation. The 46-year-old independent contractor said he was owed due to a workplace accident in early 2016.

In that accident, he slipped, fell and suffered a microfracture to his foot, according to his lawsuit, but that was just the beginning of his problems.

Scipione sued the company he provided services for — Osaka, Japan-based transportation and manufacturing company Kinkisharyo — for negligence shortly after the workplace collapse, his lawyers said. But according to court documents, he eventually developed a debilitating medical condition as a result of the injury, forcing the skilled trader to quit his job. He asked his legal representation to seek a $3 million settlement in July 2022 to pay for mounting medical bills.

According to Scipione's lawyers, the offer was rejected by Kinkisharyo's defense team.

That decision backfired for Kinkisharyo on Tuesday when a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury awarded Scipione $58.35 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Calls to Kinkisharyo's legal team, Husch Blackwell of Los Angeles, were not returned.

Khail Parris is a partner at the Lancaster-based Parris Law Firm and, along with Alexander Wheeler, served as lead attorney for the plaintiff.

Parris said $54.15 million was awarded in compensatory damages for past lost earnings, future lost earnings, future medical expenses and past and future pain and suffering. The jury also awarded $4.2 million in damages.

Parris said he was a little surprised by the payout because juries can be “unpredictable.”

“I'm glad the jury heard my client,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The defendant took a very aggressive stance in this case and dragged it out for eight years. The jury thought it was enough.”

According to court documents, Scipione was employed by railroad contractor Altech Services at the time of the accident. His duties included supervising teams of electrical engineers who were also employed by Altech, the documents show, and his specialty was troubleshooting electrical problems.

According to the lawsuit, Scipione was sent to the Kinkisharyo Train Station in Palmdale for repairs around 2 a.m. on February 2, 2016. He was instructed that it had to be done within three hours.

Unbeknownst to Scipione, the train he was going to work on was wet after recently undergoing a waterproofing test, according to testimony from a senior Kinkisharyo safety manager. That person said the train was not dry for at least two days before Scipione started working on it.

The Kinkisharyo employee also admitted that there were other safety issues in Scipione's workspace, including poor lighting.

Scipione climbed to the top of the train car, slipped and fell on top of the vehicle, causing the microfracture in his left foot, according to court documents. Although Scipione went home after the accident, he returned to work the next day.

Nearly three months after the injury, Scipione was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, according to court documents. The Mayo Clinic describes the syndrome as “a form of chronic pain” which usually affects an arm or leg and usually develops after an injury. The Mayo Clinic added that “the pain is disproportionate to the severity of the initial injury.”

“The defendants have fought us at every corner for eight years to help my client receive proper compensation and medical care,” Parris said. “Things only changed when their safety manager admitted that the factory had been unsafe.”

Part of Scipione's struggle was finding care through workers' compensation insurance. Letters were submitted to the court showing that care was not provided as the process of determining whether Scipione was an actual employee of Kinkisharyo or Altech was dragged out.

“The judges were 12 little guys and saw a little guy take on a big company,” Parris said. “They stood up for one of their own.”

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