As a lawyer in a firm of seasoned attorneys, I always take pride when one of my colleagues is featured in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly for a noteworthy case. This week, Virginia Lawyers Weekly published a summary of attorney Rick Shapiro’s
$1,500,000.00 settlement in a very interesting case. Our client was a
commercial airline pilot who was staying overnight at a hotel in Norfolk, Virginia before his flight the next morning.
the pilot woke up the next morning he took a shower and while he was
washing his hair with his hands above his head, he was shocked from a
light fixture overhead. The shock caused our client to lose
consciousness and fall out of the shower. He came to and immediately
called the hotel operator to send a maintenance engineer to the room.
was dispute about the characteristics of the light fixture with the
pilot describing it as a bare bulb in a ceramic-fixture protruding from
the ceiling and the engineer described it as a recessed fixture with a
plastic cover. I remember sitting in on depositions and there were
many different types of light fixtures in place during that time
period. The hotel eventually underwent major renovations which made it
even more difficult to prove which fixture was in place at the time of
The pilot notified his company that he could
not safely fly the plane and traveled home. During his flight home the
pilot experienced pain in his left eye and was later diagnosed with left optic neuropathy which
is a fancy way of saying his vision deteriorated. Obviously a pilot’s
job is entirely dependent on his vision and the pilot lost is
qualification to fly a commercial aircraft.
The case was transferred from state court to federal court by the defendant hotel. We alleged negligence per se because
the light fixture violated the National Electric Code. We also alleged
argued that the hotel took no photos of the bathroom as it appeared
when he was shocked and changed the fixture during the month after the
At a pre-trial hearing the judge allowed our
electrical experts in and refused to dismiss the negligence per se
count. After two settlement conferences the parties settled the case
Great job Rick! It always pays to have an
experienced personal injury attorney representing you. A good lawyer
knows what to look for and how to handle tricky defense lawyers. Visit
our websites to learn more about our firm. Virginia Beach Injury Board, Norfolk Injury Board and Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis and Appleton, P.C.