Press-Republican

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May 16, 2013

Jury awards amputee $2.75 million

ST. REGIS FALLS — Thomas Fisher said a multi-million-dollar verdict from a State Supreme Court jury would not make his world any different.

“We’re going to go on with our life like it was,” said the St. Regis Falls man, who was rendered an amputee in a 2003 construction-site accident and recently was awarded $2.75 million following an eight-day trial in Malone.

“It’s not going to change our lives,” he said.

CAUGHT IN PUMP

Fisher was 55 and about three weeks into a job as the supervisor on a construction site in New York City, building a miniature golf course, when a concrete pump manufactured by Multiquip Inc. of California quit.

“We were just trying to figure out why the pump wasn’t working. Then I got whacked,” he said.

His right hand became caught in the pump and eventually had to be amputated, following a series of unsuccessful surgeries.

IN COURT FOR DECADE

Fisher, a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, hired attorney John Muldowney of the Malone law firm of Fischer, Bessette, Muldowney and Hunter and sued the manufacturer.

The recent verdict ended a 10-year court fight.

“It was a very long battle; there’s no arguing that one,” Fisher said. “I’m retired now, and everything’s good.”

The jury awarded him $1.5 million for pain and suffering, $1 million for anticipated pain and suffering and $56,000 in lost wages.

But that will be reduced by 20 percent because the jury found him partially at fault for the incident.

MOVING ON

Muldowney said in a news release that the case was about the “fortitude of a North Country man who fought for nearly 10 years against a $1.5 billion company from California to get his day in court.”

The jury heard from hydraulic-power and concrete-pump-industry experts, industrial-safety engineers, four doctors and a prosthetics expert who explained Fisher’s severe injury.

“It’s good to be done after 10 years, and because of Mr. Muldowney, we persevered,” Fisher said.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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