Rooftop Accident Case Settled During Jury Deliberations

A real estate agent who suffered a brain injury when he fell from a stairwell structure at the summit of the Sunset Vine Tower reached a settlement of the negligence suit he brought against the property owners and managers.

Jurors had already begun deliberating after hearing the trial of plaintiff Eddie Arnez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit when lawyers announced to Judge Ruth Kwan on Tuesday that the case was resolved. No terms were divulged.

Arnez, then 42, alleged in the suit brought in July 2018 that he suffered permanent injuries and a sharp curtailment of his vibrant career in upscale real estate due to the negligence of employees of property managers Alliance Residential Co. LLC, as well as those of the building’s owner, Instrata Sunset Vine Tower.

He maintained he should not have been allowed on the rooftop of a 20-story building, both because of his inexperience walking in the potentially dangerous area and due to the lack of guardrails at the point where he fell on May 4, 2018.

Defense attorneys maintained Arnez was inattentive and tripped on vents protruding from the roof of the stairwell structure as he prepared to climb 12 1/2 feet down a ladder to the main surface. Arnez was there that day to help the Sunset Vine Tower market its apartments and lofts.

According to Arnez’s attorney, Deborah Chang, the plaintiff established connections with directors, producers and actors while working at various Hollywood studios, then obtained his real estate license and began using those ties to obtain clients — many of whom lived outside California, but needed places to stay while working in the state — for such real estate firms as Sotheby’s, where he obtained his first job by walking in and being hired the same day.

While subsequently employed at Compass Inc., Arnez was approached about marketing apartments for lease at the Sunset Vine Tower, a departure for someone used to selling homes, Chang said.

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