Phani Guthula gets $7.25 million in a settlement with Philly museum

Phani Guthula, an Indian American engineer, who had sued after he fell nearly 40 feet through a glass ceiling at Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, has settled for $7.25 million. According to his attorneys, earlier this month with the defendants, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the security company, AlliedBarton Security Services.

Guthula says a guard at the Rodin Museum in 2012 told him he could step on the glass to inspect lighting fixtures before he fell. His attorneys say he was hospitalized for over a month with injuries including femur, hip, pelvic and rib fractures. “It was the most terrifying moment of his life,” Guthula’s attorney Larry Bendesky told the media. “It’s a more terrifying moment than most of us would ever be able to come to grips with.”

As per the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Rodin Museum had completed a $9 million renovation. Guthula, then 27 and working as an engineer for ICF International, was conducting an energy audit of the building, which had applied for an energy rebate with Peco.

While conducting the audit, an AlliedBarton security guard gave Guthula access to the museum’s attic area, the lawsuit said. Guthula was required to inspect light fixtures located above a glass-paneled surface, and the guard told him he could step onto the glass. He soon plummeted to the museum floor.

Guthula’s lawsuit had accused the museum and its security company of not protecting him. In a court filing, AlliedBarton said its security guard had never been properly warned about the safety risks by the museum.

Guthula’s attorneys said he was hospitalized for over a month with injuries including femur, hip, pelvic and rib fractures. Guthula has partially recovered, but walks slowly, and suffers from a lack of energy and an inability to concentrate at times.

Guthula’s attorneys say the settlement brought some sense of closure to their client, but the effects of his injuries will likely linger the rest of his life. “He’s doing the very best he can do. He is living every day fighting through it, putting his best foot forward, and working towards living a normal life,” said Bendesky.

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