Working With An Accessible Home Remodeling Expert Witness

Q&A with Paul Cornoni, Partner, Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC

Russ Glickman of Rockville based, Glickman Design Build, recently had the honor of serving as a home modification expert witness on a case with Paul Cornoni, Partner, with Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC. The result was the addition of almost 1 million dollars to the jury’s overall verdict of $6,500,000.00 and an important focus on making a lifetime home comfortable and safe for an accident victim. We sat down with Paul so that he could share his experiences with working with Glickman on this case.

Glickman: Can you please share the details of the case?

Cornoni: My client, a former CIA employee who served our country honorably for decades, lost his leg when shopping at a Sam’s Club in Gaithersburg, MD. Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, completely redesigned its store in an unsafe manner. It presented a dangerous condition to Sam’s Club customers by failing to protect them from the known danger of cars crashing into buildings. The statistics are clear. Vehicles crash into big box stores hundreds of times each year.

Here, Walmart installed an addition to the front of the store that housed a cafeteria. Walmart added the cafeteria to make more money. This addition jetted out into the parking lot and was right in the path of a one-way driving lane pointing straight at the cafeteria. To summarize, Walmart knew that cars crash into buildings each day and instead of installing safety bollards to protect its customers it decided to place a new cafeteria immediately in front of a one-way drive aisle exiting the parking lot.

An older gentleman, who was driving outside of the store, thought he had his foot on the break but instead pressed on the gas pedal and slammed into the building and hit my client who at the time was waiting in line at the cafeteria. Two army medical student’s who were shopping at the store, provided my client with emergency medical attention which ultimately saved his life. But unfortunately he lost his leg due to the catastrophic injuries sustained in the collision.

Glickman: Tell us how Glickman helped you and your client with this case.

Cornoni: Russ’ testimony was invaluable to this case. He is an excellent witness not only because of his remodeling expertise, but because of his personal understanding of the needs of an individual who is wheelchair bound, as is his son with Cerebral Palsy. He thinks of everything even down to the details such as placing light switches so that they can be reached from a wheelchair. To get the full value out of the case, we needed someone like Russ to look at the home. My client wanted to stay in the home he has lived in for over 30 years but didn’t even think that was an option after the accident until we met with Russ. Russ was great, because he allowed us to show the jury how much it would take to make this home livable again. He included things like ramps, renovating the kitchen so my client could continue to cook, which he loved to do, adding a generator in case of power outages and even an elevator to allow easier movement from floor to floor.

Glickman: What value did Russ bring from your client’s perspective?

Cornoni: From my client’s perspective, Russ shared ideas that they would have never thought of on their own. Everything he said made sense. He thought he was going to be forced to move to a first floor apartment and was thrilled at the prospect of staying in the home he loves. The more we can maintain normalcy in our client’s lives, the better. With Russ’ involvement my client can continue to enjoy the home he’s lived in for decades.

Glickman: Would you recommend others use Russ?

Cornoni: I would definitely recommend others use Russ. My partner, Pat Regan, met him at a conference and we have been singing his praises ever since. We try to use Russ in any case where injuries have left a client wheelchair bound.

Glickman: Do you have any final words about Russ?

Cornoni: I think that Russ does an exceptional job at trial because he has such a great way about him. Sometimes in legal cases there are experts that are just dry and have difficulty relating to the jury. But Russ has a way of talking to the jury as a ‘regular guy’ from the perspective of someone who has a family member who is in a wheelchair. This makes him very persuasive.