Jury orders paving contractor to pay $39 million to worker killed in highway construction zone

by Charles Miller

Randy Roginski of North Royalton, Ohio, was a highway paving inspector for Solar Testing Labs. One night in 2010, he was working at a site on Interstate 271, near Richfield, Ohio. Just before midnight, Roginski was standing on the berm on the right side of the highway, wearing a reflective vest, when he was hit by a passing car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Roginski’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cuyahoga County against The Shelly Company, a paving company responsible for the construction zone where Roginski was killed. Earlier this month, a jury ruled unanimously that the company was negligent and responsible for Roginski’s death.

The suit alleged that working conditions at the construction zone were unreasonably dangerous. The plaintiff argued that inadequate safety measures were taken to protect workers in the construction zone. Although at least two highway patrol officers were to have been providing protection that night, only one patrolman, stationed about halfway into the zone, was working at the time of the fatal incident.

The jury awarded Roginski’s widow $19 million in compensatory damages and additionally ordered The Shelley Company to pay $20 million in punitive damages and the plaintiff’s attorney fees.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2014.