Five people have filed lawsuits seeking more than $2.3 million in damages after allegedly suffering injuries when a Medford apartment complex balcony collapsed.
Four family members plus a neighbor said in their lawsuits the balcony detached from the main building and collapsed in September, causing a host of injuries that included a concussion, herniated disk and a hand pierced by a nail. The apartment complex is on Brookhurst Street.
Medford Fire & Rescue responded to the collapse. A fire marshal noted dry rot and a low number of nails used in the balcony's construction.
The lawsuits allege the parties being sued were warned the balcony was unstable and was deteriorating but failed to repair or replace the balcony.
A Jackson County Circuit Court judge ruled this week the separate cases should be consolidated.
Tracy McGovern, attorney for the defendants, argued in a court submission that the lawsuits relate to the same incident and therefore should be consolidated.
Without consolidation, she wrote that the plaintiffs "would essentially get five 'separate bites at the liability apple' against Defendants. Defendants should only be required to defend liability once."
A consultant for the other side argued against consolidating the cases, saying jurors would be confused by complex medical information about all five injured people. The consultant also said jurors could award a smaller total amount if they feel sorry for the people being sued.
The lawsuits seek damages against Kathryn and Louis Mahar, Mary and Robert Niccolls and Oak Tree Realtors.
The Louis Mahar named in the lawsuits is an elder member of the Mahar family, not the younger Louis Mahar, who recently entered no contest pleas to assault and harassment charges after injuring a man during a graduation party.
The five people who say they were injured by the balcony collapse are Janet Hodges, her daughters, Emily and Sadie Hodges, her sister, Susan Hager Hamilton, and a visiting neighbor, Clara Daley.
Janet Hodges allegedly suffered injuries to her elbow, hand and other parts of her body. She is seeking $260,000.
Emily Hodges is seeking $1,325,000 after she says her spine, feet, leg, hip, shoulder and other body parts were injured.
Sadie Hodges is seeking $250,000 for a pierced hand, herniated disc in her neck, and injured shoulder, arm, legs and lower back.
Hamilton says she suffered an injured back, shoulders, hips, neck and right hand. She is seeking $150,000.
Daley, who seeks $350,000, allegedly suffered a concussion and injured back, shoulder and hip.
— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.