In 2005, an art student had a showing at an art gallery during a school sponsored event. The college kid finished his show, and the day after it closed, went to pack up his art work. An open elevator shaft at the gallery changed his life forever. The young man fell roughly 15 feet down the elevator shaft, leaving him with a brain injury and permanent disabilities.
The man is now 30-years-old and continues to struggle with his disabilities. He filed a NJ personal injury lawsuit against both the university and the owner of the art gallery. The university and the gallery owner blamed each other for the student’s injuries. The evidence was placed before a jury in the South recently in a premises liability lawsuit. Sources indicate it took the jury roughly two hours before rendering their verdict in favor of the student.
The jury returned a multi-million award in favor of the student who does not really remember what happened. The jury found the university 65 percent at fault for the elevator accident. The gallery owner was found 30 percent responsible for the accident. The jury apportioned 5 percent of the responsibility to the student. There were no witnesses to the accident.
The now 30-year-old man only remembers waking up in the hospital after the accident. Doctors removed a large section of the student’s skull to allow the brain injury to heal. The partial skull removal was done to allow room for swelling in the young man’s brain to subside. He wore a helmet to protect his head after the surgery.
He claimed the school was liable for the accident for failing to provide adequate supervision during the school sponsored event. The artist sued the gallery owner for violations on the premises. The jury award will help the young man cover medical expenses and provide for himself. He has had difficulties finding work due to his disabilities.
The legal issues are not fully complete. Apparently the gallery owner had an indemnity agreement with the university. The judge will decide the validity of that agreement, which the gallery owner says was signed by university officials to protect the owner against any liability if anyone was hurt in the gallery during the school sponsored event.