A federal jury returned a verdict in favor of a miner and his wife over his trip and fall at an Illinois coal mine, rewarding the couple $320,000 on April 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

After deliberating for roughly four hours, the jury reached its conclusion that defendant Temper Fabricators LLC, represented by Bradley R. Hansmann of St. Louis, was negligent in U.S. District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel’s court.

Plaintiffs John Barrow IV and Kimberlee Barrow were represented in the case by Patrick A. Watts and Nathan D. Sturycz of the Sturycz Watts LLC law firm in St. Louis.

John Barrow, 58, was working at a coal mine in Equality, Ill., on May 12, 2011, when two of Temper’s employees allegedly left multiple steel-reinforced hydraulic hoses unattended across the concrete walkway inside the entrance to the mine’s main warehouse, Sturycz Watts stated in a release.

The plaintiff allegedly fell while walking into the warehouse when he stepped onto one of the inflexible hoses, which rolled out from under him. John Barrow claims he landed on his lower back, causing him to endure spinal fusion.

However, the procedure did not resolve his pain, but instead caused him life-inhibiting side effects, the firm argued.

The firm noted that employees of contractors were required to adhere to the appropriate safety regulations according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), as well as the owner of the mine.

The MSHA regulations required, among other things, that safety hazards be barricaded, or “flagged” off.

Two Temper employees who worked with the hoses allegedly testified during the trial that they knew where the mine owner kept the required safety barricades. And the plaintiffs testified that two eye witnesses allegedly said the hydraulic hoses were not barricaded or flagged off in any way.

Additionally, both eye witnesses allegedly testified that they were on their way to move the hoses themselves when the plaintiff entered the warehouse and fell.

The jury reached its decision to award the couple $320,000 plus taxable costs and post-judgment interest.

Kimberlee Barrow was awarded damages for her loss of consortium claims.

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