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High court upholds $12.75 million award to ‘dancing’ Seattle firefighter

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld a jury award of almost $13 million to a Seattle firefighter who fell down a fire pole opening in the middle of the night.

The fall to a concrete floor, in December 2003, left Mark Jones with head trauma and other injuries. At trial, he claimed he was unable to work. A King County jury awarded Jones $12.75 million.

After the jury verdict, the city tried to offer new evidence, including surveillance video that showed Jones dancing, chopping wood, and playing horseshoes. But the trial judge refused to allow the new evidence and a state Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge’s decision.

In its ruling Thursday, the state’s high court concluded “the trial judge acted within her discretion in denying the City’s motion to vacate based on newly discovered evidence.”

According to the negligence lawsuit against the City of Seattle, Jones got up at 3 a.m. to use the bathroom at Fire Station 33 and fell through the fire pole hole and was knocked unconscious.

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