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Sunday, March 3, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Son Injured at Home Will Not Get a Big Pay Day

(CN) - A man who sued his parents after he fell off a ladder while hanging Christmas lights does not deserve much more than it costs to pay his medical bills, a Texas appeals court ruled.

Tony Dustin Perez broke his elbow in the fall at the home of his parents, Antonio and Marsha Perez, in November 2006.

He sought $200,000 in the lawsuit, but a San Patricio County jury awarded him just $7,400, which included $5,000 for surgery to remove the hardware that doctors had implanted to keep his elbow together.

Ironically, Dustin Perez still works at the used car lot owned by his father, who testified that his son makes good money.

Dustin's physical strength factored into the trial as well. In the time since he filed suit, Dustin had increased the maximum weight he can bench-press from 225 pounds to 400 pounds. He testified, however, that his elbow injury has made him afraid to "max out."

The evidence also showed that Dustin's injury occurred while he was standing on the top two steps of the ladder, above the marker that states "Do Not Stand Above This Step."

A three-judge panel with the 13th District Texas Court of Appeals affirmed the jury's award just over a week ago

"We conclude that there was legally and factually sufficient evidence to support all the jury's challenged findings on damages," Justice Gregory Perkes wrote for the panel in Corpus Christi.

Some of the jury members had expressed unease over resolving a family dispute.

"For example, one venire member stated the case seemed 'like a scam' and other questioned why a jury was being asked to get involved with a family situation," Perkes wrote.

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