LOS ANGELES – A woman whose car was struck by a Palmdale man who committed suicide by jumping from a downtown highrise under construction reached a settlement of a lawsuit she filed against the company building the project where the decedent was working.
Donna Crockett and her husband, co-plaintiff Jamie Crockett, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Turner Construction Co. last July 7. On Monday, Feb. 6, the couple’s attorneys filed a notice of settlement, but no terms were divulged.
The suit’s allegations included negligence, strict liability for an ultrahazardous activity and loss of consortium. In their court papers, lawyers for Turner Construction challenged the emotional distress claims and said the original complaint was amended to include a “sham” pleading.
Joseph Sabbatino, 36, of Palmdale died at the scene of the fall, which occurred in the 600 block of South Figueroa Street about 12:35 p.m. last March 17.
Sabbatino, an electrician, fell about 50 stories and landed on a vehicle. The building project’s general contractor said the man had no reason to be above the structure’s third floor.
The complaint alleged Turner Construction should have been aware of Sabbatino’s lack of fitness for the job and that the company was negligent in hiring him.
The lawsuit stated that after Sabbatino’s body hit Donna Crockett’s car, she got out and saw “brain and other internal bodily matter splattered across her vehicle and the surrounding scene.”
The woman had never before seen a dead body, the suit stated, and the experience left her “shocked, overwhelmed, panicked, distressed and completely distraught.”
She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and remained there for 10 hours to receive treatment, including help from a crisis management team, the suit states. She continues to get therapy, according to her complaint.
She has been unable to return to her job at the Macy’s store near where the incident occurred because of her emotional distress, the suit stated.
Jamie Crockett has suffered from a loss of the affections he once had with his wife as well as the income she no longer is able to bring home, the suit states.
The 73-story Wilshire Grand is being developed by Korean Air, which is owned by Hanjin International Corp., at a cost of more than $1 billion. The high-rise will be 1,100 feet tall when completed this year, surpassing the height of the U.S. Bank Tower, the tallest building in Los Angeles at 1,018 feet.
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