As a favor to a friend, a man agreed to paint some of the rooms inside the friend’s home. The friend and his wife provided the materials, including a ladder. While the man was using the ladder, it suddenly collapsed and “scissored” his ankle in such a way that it broke all the ankle bones and nearly severed the foot.

The homeowners claimed that the man was standing on the ladder’s top cap and otherwise using the ladder in an inappropriate way and that he was the sole cause of the incident. Their insurance company offered $5,000 to settle the case. Through investigation and examination of the owner’s use of the ladder, it was proved that the ladder owners had repeatedly repaired the ladder to the point that it was a dangerously defective product, unsuitable for unknowing others to safely use.

A Dakota County jury found the homeowners to be responsible for the defective ladder and liable for the injuries and lost income and diminished earning capacity sustained by Mark Streed’s client.

Verdict: $425,000