Worker badly injured on job wins $750,000

Boss denied he was working for company

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PITTSFIELD — A Berkshire jury has awarded $750,000 to a man who was injured on the job in February 2015 while working for a business without worker's compensation insurance.

Jose Hernandez, 52, was working for Richard Shove and his business, Rick's Complete Lawn and Landscaping Service on Feb. 15, clearing ice and snow from the roof of a commercial client, when he fell from the roof.

Hernandez landed on his feet and fractured his heel bone into multiple pieces, according to his attorney, Cynthia A. Spinola.

That fracture extended into the joints of Hernandez's leg and foot bones, leading to a diagnosis of traumatic osteoarthritis in his right ankle.

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That injury greatly limits Hernadez's mobility and impacts his ability to perform physically demanding work, including the type of lawn and property management services Hernandez was doing while working for Shove, Spinola said.

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"He'll never walk normally again," she said Tuesday, adding the award was appropriate.

Shove was not carrying the required worker's compensation insurance and claimed Hernandez was not an employee at the time of the injury.

A Berkshire Superior Court jury found otherwise on June 14, following about two hours of deliberations at the conclusion of a six-day trial before Judge Maureen Hogan.

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Spinola said the award is subject to appeal by the defendants, but as of Tuesday morning, she was not aware of any such action having been taken.

A message left with Shove's attorney, William Barry, seeking comment, was not immediately returned.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.


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