Galindo Construction must pay $33,000 to diver who sustained skin burns

By Takesha Thomas | Oct 16, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – A diver has won more than $33,000 in a partial summary judgment for his medical expenses he incurred after he sustained burns on his skin after working on a project for a construction company.

On Sept. 28, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore ruled in favor of Matthew Zugsberger, awarding him $33,476.86. In addition, she ruled that Galindo Construction and its owner Ron Galindo must pay Zugsberger "maintenance at the rate of $53.33 per day on an ongoing basis from Sept. 28, 2018, forward until (1) Zugsberger reaches maximum cure for his injures which manifested during the project, at which time defendants' maintenance obligation will cease, (2) until plaintiff's living expenses change, at which time Zugsberger's maintenance rate may change, or subject to modification after trial." 

Galindo Construction has 60 days to pay "all cure incurred by (Zugsberger) during or since his employment with Galindo Construction and Ron Galindo from August 2016 through November 2016," the ruling states.

Zugsberger filed a motion for partial summary judgment against Galindo Construction in May after he claimed that the company failed to pay for any of his medical treatments or expenses. 

Zugsberger alleged he sustained skin blisters in September 2016 while working on a Galindo Construction project to excavate oyster racks. According to the ruling, Galindo Construction was subcontracted by TL Peterson for the work in June 2016 to "dispose of debris from Drakes Estero at the 'Class I Landfill' cable of receiving toxic materials, in exchange for $1.6 million." Zugsberger and another diver would "get in the water and rig a chain to the oyster racks so that the mini-excavator could pull the oyster racks onto the barge." 

However, the ruling states that Zugsberger was not wearing "full dive gear or protective hazmat gear at the time of exposure." 

In September 2016, Zugsberger sought medical attention complaining of "development of progressive erythema, progressing to blistering" and skin peeling on his trunk and back after his exposure to water at the dive site.

The ruling states doctors assessed that his injuries were "consistent with chemical burn likely secondary to petrochemical or other toxic exposure."

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