September 6, 2012 update -- The attorney representing the plaintiff, David Barnett, has issued the following statement:
"After four days of trial, the jury returned a verdict on Friday evening, August 31, in favor of the plaintiff, David Barnett, for the permanent loss of sight in his right eye and the other injuries he suffered as a result of the negligence of The Byrd Theatre Foundation. Mr. Barnett is grateful for the dedicated and conscientious service of the jury, and is relieved to have this difficult chapter behind him."
Richmond, VA (WWBT) -- An organ repairman has won his lawsuit against Carytown's historic Byrd Theatre.
David Barnett sued the Byrd Theatre Foundation for $5 million after an accident while repairing the theatre's organ. A jury awarded him $750,000.
The suit claims that in May 2009, the Foundation invited David Barnett, of the Organ Historical Society, to repair the Wurlitzer as an unpaid volunteer. The suit alleges that Barnett lost his footing on a loose floor plank and hit his head, resulting in permanent blindness in his right eye, a fractured nose, and scarring.
The famous Wurlitzer organ was installed in the Byrd Theatre in 1928 to accompany silent movies and still entertains moviegoers today.
Theater management is not commenting on the verdict. There is no word yet on how much the theatre might have to pay out of pocket, whether that might affect funds raised for restoring the theatre, or whether the theatre will appeal.
We'll continue to keep you posted.
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