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Scheele Bird Trial Team Secure Defense Verdict in Pinellas County

June 12, 2009

Plaintiff, a self-proclaimed handyman, first made contact with the defendant physician when the doctor agreed to treat him for free for a potentially fatal infection. Following the plaintiff's recovery, and seeing that the Plaintiff was in need of money, the physician hired him to complete a few projects around his home.

After completing a few projects, the Plaintiff was contracted to install flooring. Without the doctor's knowledge or consent, the Plaintiff located an old table saw, and decided to use it to install the floors. The saw actually was owned by another contractor who had left it at the doctor's home temporarily.

While using the table saw, the Plaintiff's hand slipped, severing his index, middle, and most of his ring finger. The fingers were reattached with wires, and eventually a second surgery was performed during which permanent metal hardware was placed to secure the fingers. As a result of the same, the plaintiff lost his range of motion with respect to the knuckles of all three fingers. At trial, the Plaintiff testified that he would have the hand amputated because of the severe pain and in fact, one of his hand surgeons testified that the amputation was recommended.

The handyman argued at trial that the defendant instructed him to use the saw. He further testified that he protested immediately because he saw how dangerous the saw was, but that the defendant FORCED him to use the saw anyway. The plaintiff also claimed that he complained of the condition of the saw a second time, a few days prior to the incident, but despite the same the defendant told him that "You will use that saw".

At trial, Attorney Scheele was successful in impeaching the plaintiff's testimony, by offering evidence that the plaintiff failed to file tax returns until 2 months before trial, that he was not truthful about his history of illicit drug use, and by pointing out that the plaintiff continuously changed his story about who owned the tools.

At the close of the trial, the Plaintiff asked the Jury for over $800,000. The jury deliberated a short time, and returned a defense verdict, finding no liability on behalf of the defendant doctor.
Brandon R. Scheele
(813) 222-1117