Case details

Failure to secure ladder to vehicle caused crash, plaintiff claimed




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, neck
On Aug. 27, 2010, plaintiff Thomas Stilson, 26, a sales associate and student, was driving in the carpool lane of northbound U.S. Highway 101, in California. He had a passenger in the vehicle. Suddenly and without warning, Stilson saw a 28-foot extension ladder on the road in front of his vehicle. As a result, Stilson drove onto the center median to avoid colliding with either the ladder or the surrounding vehicles. However, in so doing, he lost control of his vehicle and collided with the center divider. Stilson claimed to his neck and back. Stilson sued the believed owners of the ladder, ACCO Management Co. Inc. and Kelly-Moore Paint Co. Inc., and the maintainer of the highway, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Kelly-Moore Paint and Caltrans were ultimately dismissed from the case. Thus, the matter continued against ACCO only. Stilson contended that ACCO personnel failed to secure the ladder to an ACCO vehicle. Thus, he contended that ACCO was negligent for its personnel’s actions and for failing to train its personnel on how to properly secure the ladder to its vehicles. ACCO denied responsibility for the ladder’s appearance in the roadway. It claimed that the subject ladder likely was stolen from ACCO long before the accident., Stilson sought medical treatment for back and neck pain on the date of the incident. He claimed that his appeared to be modest at first, but that the grew far worse over time. Stilson claimed that he was ultimately diagnosed with herniations of his C5-6 and C6-7 intervertebral discs. Stilson claimed that constant pain from his herniated cervical discs forced him to leave his graduate studies. He eventually required a multi-level cervical disc replacement from C5-6 to C6-7 and repeated facet rhizotomies –a procedure that uses an electrical current to destroy the nerve fibers carrying pain signals to the brain. Stilson further claimed that he will require substantial future care. Counsel for ACCO disputed Stilson’s and damages, contending that Stilson’s incident-related were minor. Counsel also contended that Stilson’s need for future care was minimal.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case