What might be termed a
grip-and-grimace lawsuit will go to trial in Palm Beach this spring to
decide whether a 2004 handshake between two attorneys led to years of pain
and medical treatments for one of them.
George Vallario Jr. of
Delray Beach is suing a Peter Lindley, a south Florida attorney who
practices corporate and real estate law, for pain and suffering
resulting from a handshake three years ago.
“He shook my hand
with such force – maybe he had a new workout routine,” Vallario, who
plans to represent himself during the trial scheduled to begin in
mid-May, told the Florida Record.
The two attorneys had
been friends for several years when they saw each other in February 2014
at a birthday party for two young children in Boca Raton, Vallario
Lindley, who is approximately 16 years younger than the
76-year-old Vallario, then “grabbed the plaintiff’s right hand without
any reason, provocation or warning of any kind, with such negligent
force and strength that the plaintiff immediately shouted out that he
was in severe pain … .” Vallario’s complaint says.
Vallario said he woke at 2:20 the next morning with the worst pain he had ever felt and has been living with pain every day.
“When I’m at church, I have to use my left hand to pass the basket around,” he said.
said he sent text messages to Lindley to tell him about the pain that
resulted from the handshake, but received no response.
“No flowers, no candy, no cards – what a friend you are,” he said he wrote in a text.
Lindley had little to say about the case and upcoming trial. “It’s kind of ridiculous, actually,” he told the Record, adding that he was looking forward to being vindicated in court.
court documents, Lindley acknowledged that he did shake hands with
Vallario at the birthday party but rejects the accusation that the
handshake caused the plaintiff any injuries. He suggested that the
Record check with other circuit courts to see if any case involving negligent handshakes had ever been filed.
articles have reported on a few such cases in recent decades. A Utah
elementary school teacher sued an angry parent in 2001 after the parent allegedly shook the teacher’s hand so
hard that she had to undergo a series of surgeries to repair her
injuries. The parent was allegedly upset about her son's grades. In 2008, a Tennessee woman filed a half-million-dollar lawsuit
against a restaurant manager over a handshake that the plaintiff
described as “crushing.”
Lindley, who practices in Boca Raton,
has a background that includes corporate law, securities law, property
acquisitions and title issues. He is also a certified public accountant
said he is asking for approximately $200,000 in damages, but added that if Lindley had apologized early on, that would have been the end of it.
Vallario said he has gone to specialists and endured lost time and
suffering as a result of the injury. He was treated by orthopedic
doctors three times a week for six months, but the treatment didn’t seem
to do much good, he said.
“As a direct result of the
defendant’s negligent conduct, plaintiff suffered, and still suffers,
bodily injury and resulting pain and suffering, disability, mental
anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life,
medical care and nursing care and treatment and aggravation of a
previously existing condition,” Vallario’s court complaint says. He said he is also unable to remove the cap off of a tube
of toothpaste, and though he is able to write with his right
hand, he doesn't do it as well as he’d like to.
The trial has faced
some delays over the past year, and at one point Lindley sought to be
excused during a scheduled trial period because he had to undergo a hip
replacement surgery in September.
“Being the man I am, I sent him two get-well cards,” Vallario said.
losses as a result of the encounter are either permanent or continuing,
he said in court documents, and he expects to suffer additional losses
in the future.