Tampa trial lawyer Steve Yerrid talks with the Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times and Lakeland Ledger about how a Hillsborough County jury awarded more than $64 million to a man left permanently disabled after a building collapsed on him, nearly cutting him in two and crushing much of his lower body.
The verdict, among the largest in county history, comes more than five years after an 11,000 pound pre-fabricated building collapsed on then 25-year-old Robert Matthews while he was helping to install the structure on a piece of land at Mosaic Fertilizer’s Hooker’s Prairie Mine in Polk County.
Jurors found that Bartow-based Semco Construction, working without a proper permit and adequate equipment, neglected to properly and safely prepare a piece of land at
Hooker’s Prairie Mine in Polk County, Fla, a few miles south of Mulberry. As a result, soon after the structure was installed on the site, the ground gave way, causing the building to collapse on top of Matthews. Much of his lower body crushed, including legs, internal organs and pelvis, Matthews was not expected to survive the night. Yet, he did. Fifty-plus operations (and millions of dollars in medical bills) later, Matthews today is catastrophically disabled, living with his parents.
Yerrid represented Robert Matthews in this case.