A jury trial began in the Superior Court yesterday in a negligence claim against Mobil Oil Mariana Islands, Inc. filed by a security guard who alleged that he was injured when he fell into a ditch on Mobil Oil’s premises in Lower Base, Saipan in December 2013.
After the parties completed their opening statements yesterday morning, attorneys Victorino DLG Torres and Matthew Holley, counsel for plaintiff Herman Indalecio, started calling their witnesses in the afternoon.
Saipan attorney Thomas E. Clifford and Guam attorney Richard L. Johnson of Law Firm of Blair Sterling Johnson & Martinez P.C. are counsels for Mobil Oil Mariana Islands.
Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja is presiding over the trial.
Indalecio asked the court to hold Mobil Oil liable to pay him damages for medical care and expenses, for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and diminished qualify of life. He also demanded payment for attorney’s fees and court costs.
In Indalecio’s complaint, Torres said Indalecio fell into a ditch at Mobil Oil’s premises located in Lower Base on Dec. 21, 2013.
Torres said Mobil knew or by the exercise of reasonable care should have discovered the dangerous condition regarding the ditch, and should have realized that it creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others such as Indalecio.
Torres said Mobil failed to maintain the premises in a safe and prudent manner by not putting a fence or a barricade where the ditch was located; not properly ensuring that its premises are safe to walk in; and not providing adequate warning signs to caution individuals of the dangerous condition.
Mobil counsel Clifford said Mobil Oil’s terminal in Lower Base is a highly regulated place by various federal and local agencies.
In Mobil’s opening statements, Clifford said the evidence will show that Indalecio got hurt because he did not take his duty as a security guard responsibly by not following the designated route patrol on the premises.
Clifford said Indalecio was not faking his injuries, but was exaggerating.
Clifford said Mobil Oil contracts Triple S for the security guards and reasonably expects that the guards would do what they’re supposed to do.
He said the accident would not have occurred if Indalecio just followed the designated patrol route, stayed in the designated walk, and observed the warning cone.
Clifford said it’s undisputed that plaintiff declined several offers to call 911, that he told his boss that he was fine, and that he did not call for an ambulance.
The lawyer said two months after the accident Indalecio was walking normally and for the rest of 2014 he worked 40 hours a week.