Taken from LA Times online

By Joanna Lin:

It's been a tough eight years for Harold Leon Bostick. The aspiring lawyer and lifelong athlete became a quadriplegic when weightlifting equipment at his gym crashed down onto his neck.

Seven years of litigation ended this week with Bostick $18.6 million richer, but no less relieved.No amount of the money, the 39-year-old Pennsylvania native says, would give him the life he had before the evening of Jan. 4, 2001.

"It's kind of like a mini-death," Bostick said Wednesday outside U.S. District Court, where a jury awarded him more than $11 million in the second lawsuit stemming from his injury. "The walking me died in 2001. Now there's the rolling me."

He says he fears the jury's verdict will be appealed and that his legal problems will never be resolved.

Bostick, a former Marine who holds degrees in chemical engineering, business and law, suffered temporary amnesia after the accident. Much of what happened the day of his accident remains hazy, but what he does remember began like many of his regular workouts at Gold's Gym in Venice.

He warmed up on an elliptical machine, stretched and headed toward a Flex Equipment Co. Smith machine to do squats. He started with about 90 pounds of weight, and increased it after each set. A few sets and a couple hundred pounds into his workout, the horizontal bar of weights fell.Because no adjustable safety stops were installed on the machine, Bostick crumpled to the floor.

Bostick sued Flex and Gold's Gym. He offered to settle with Flex and its insurer, Atlantic Mutual, for its policy limit of $1 million.

Estimating that a loss at trial could easily exceed $1 million, an attorney for Atlantic Mutual said "it may be dangerous to reject the plaintiff's current offer" and recommended settlement, according to court documents. Atlantic Mutual never responded to Bostick's offer, and the case went to trial.

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