City Man Awarded $1.5 Million in Suit

City Man Awarded $1.5 Million In Suit
By Melissa Bane
Gloucester Daily Times
October 13, 1992

A Gloucester man was awarded nearly $1.5 million last week in a personal injury case stemming from a 1989 accident on the job in Newington, NH.

The verdict which awarded $1,426,000 to Eric Clausen of Granite Street is one of the largest sums for a case of its kind in a federal court, according to Clausen’s attorney, Michael Latti of Boston.

Attorneys for the defendants said they intend to appeal but refused further comment this morning. The jury returned its decision at 4 p.m. Friday at the U.S. District Court in Concord, NH.

Clausen, who was employed at the time of the accident as a pile driver at by the Goudreau Corp., an independent contracting company hired to install docks by Sea-3 Inc. in Newington, NH.

Sea-3 had a right of way to its dock across property owned by the Storage Tank Development Corp. On Feb. 6, 1989, Clausen slipped on an ice patch while walking down a Storage Tank pier ramp.

Clausen twisted his back while bracing his fall, and according to his lawyer has since undergone surgery five times for the removal of two herniated discs in his back.

Sea-3 Inc. and Storage Tank Development Corp. were both found liable of negligence in maintaining the pier ramp by failure to remove the ice or sand the area, Latti said.

The case was filed in the spring of 1990.

“It was touch and go for a while – but I felt I should have won,” said Clausen.

Attorneys for the defendants have 30 days to file for an appeal. During this time, interest on the award has begun accumulating. According to Latti the award may already reach $2 million after interest is added.

Clausen, who has not yet returned to work, is unable to return to pile-driving work and needs to be trained for less strenuous work, said Latti.

The one-week trial was heard by a visiting judge, Howard Bratton from New Mexico.

“It’s a load off your back,” said Clausen, “I wouldn’t want to put anybody through it.”