Rodin Museum Awards $7.25 Million to Engineer Who Fell Through Ceiling

It was a 38-foot drop.

Interior view of the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. Courtesy of Google Maps.

The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia has settled a $7.25 million lawsuit leveled by an engineer who fell through the building’s glass ceiling in 2012 during an energy inspection. The total amount awarded will be shared by AlliedBarton Security Services and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which runs the Rodin Museum’s operations.

According to CBS Philly, an unfortunate misstep sent engineer Phani Guthula crashing through the attic’s ceiling and falling 38 feet to the floor below. Guthula’s request to step onto the glass ceiling was allegedly cleared by a security guard.

The fall nearly killed Guthula, leaving him in the hospital for three months with $1.9 million in medical bills to show for it. The accident was recorded by surveillance video.

According to the Daily Mail, Guthula was on assignment by ICF International, the engineering firm the museum hired to run an energy audit of the building. Guthula’s attorneys, Larry Bendesky, David Kwass, and David Langsam, told the publication that the victim’s life has been “a living hell every day since his fall.”

AlliedBarton Security attempted to shift the blame in a court filing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, arguing that their guard was not “properly warned about the safety risks by the museum.”

In a statement to the Inquirer, spokesperson Norman Keyes stated that the museum “has always adhered to the highest safety standards and complied with all legal requirements,”  but did not mention any plans to bolster these measures.

The Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art did not respond to artnet News’ immediate request for comment.

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