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No, Son, You Can't Get a $200K Jury Award for Fallling Off a Ladder at Your Dad's House

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It was the Christmas Miracle That Wasn't.

Tony Perez was helping his parents string up Christmas lights in 2006 when he fell and broke his elbow. Apparently convinced he was solidly on Santa's "Nice" list, he came to the determination that he should be awarded $200,000.

The state Supreme Court disagreed, and in a ruling issued January 31, the high court said he would have to live with the $7,400 a San Patricio County jury awarded him for medical costs.

Some problems the court found with the request for $200K:

-- Since the accident, Perez has increased his bench-press to almost 400 pounds, from the 225 pounds he could lift at the time of the accident;

-- The large reward was intended partly to fund a fancy automated tow truck for use in Perez's repo business, although testimony showed he had bought the truck as much to help his business as to help with his injury;

-- Perez has gone to work at his dad's auto lot and had increased his earnings every year since the incident;

-- Evidence showed he had been standing two steps above the "Do Not Stand Above This Step" sign on the ladder;

-- According to the ruling, the case ran into trouble almost immediately, as lawyers talked to potential jurors: "One venire member stated the case seemed 'like a scam' and others questioned why a jury was being asked to get involved with a family situation," the court's opinion noted.

Ah well -- maybe next Christmas.

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