A California appeals court has overturned a trial judge’s decision to grant a mistrial in the case of a worker who suffered permanent brain damage allegedly caused by a fungal infection linked to bird droppings found at the site of a construction project.
The California Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a trial court erred in ruling for the defendants in a lawsuit filed by Dale Beebe, who worked as an electrical foreman for Braaten Electric Inc., who was hired by Potential Design Inc. as a subcontractor on two construction projects at a facility that owned by Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds LLC.
Mr. Beebe sued after being diagnosed with histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that spread to his brain and caused permanent disabilities.
The damage was linked to the accumulation of bird droppings created by flocks of migrating swallows that nested over a several-year period under the roof of a structure at the beef facility.
Mr. Beebe, who worked and lived at the site, argued that the facility did not do enough to protect against hazards created by feces.
During litigation, Mr. Beebe to provide statements from infectious disease experts regarding the nature of the injury, but a trial judge excluded the statements as “speculative”; and instead granted summary judgment to the defendants.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal reversed the judge’s decision, ruling that the district court had no basis to exclude the expert’s testimony and that it was not justified to grant summary judgment for the defendants at this stage of the dispute.