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January 22, 2013
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I LOST WHAT MADE ME HAPPY - Man says $40 million cannot replace lost legs

RASBERT TURNER AND DIANDRA GRANDISON, STAR Writers

Twenty-seven-year-old Curlon Lawrence made headlines when it was revealed that the court is to award him $40 million in damages on January 10.

But, Lawrence, who many would expect to be in high spirits after this victory, told THE STAR "There wasn't much emotion, because I lost what made me happy, I lost my two legs."

Lawrence, who was employed to the Channus Block and Marl Quarry Limited in Browns Town, St Ann, was injured on September 23, 2006, two months before his 21st birthday.

He recalls the incident "I was working on the machine and while I was inside the machine cleaning it, someone turned it on and my legs got caught in it."

Lawrence, who is now confined to a wheelchair, told THE STAR that he has not received any financial support from his former employer.

"Once, Mr Tony Charley (owner of the Block Factory) said he would provide me with a wheelchair and said I could come back to work for him, but I just ignored his proposal."

sole breadwinner

The father of two said the incident threw his life into disarray, as he was the sole breadwinner and it also resulted in him having to leave his family.

"Life was very hard for me, my children at one point had to stop going to school because I couldn't afford to send them, and I had to leave my family because the place they had to live wasn't suitable for me and the kids, I had trouble getting in and out of the bathroom."

"I have a brother and four sisters. But it is very difficult when each time I am travelling. It cost me an average of $900 daily o travel," Lawrence said.

Lawrence told THE STAR that he currently resides in a rented house in Alva, St Ann.

When THE STAR asked how he has been able to survive since being unemployed for over six years, he responded, "My family members and people in the community are very supportive of me, and my rent is currently being paid by my attorney, so I've been getting by."

Lawrence also noted that he has yet to receive any money through the court, and is scheduled to return for another hearing within the next 42 days.

Responding to reports stating that he has lost the function of his sex organs, Lawrence sought to clarify, "Yes, I injured my scrotum and penis during the incident but everything is working fine," he said with a laugh.

When THE STAR asked Lawrence what he plans to do with the money once it is handed to him, he responded "I am not ready to discuss and do not wish to discuss my plans." His lawyers Sean Kinghorn and Danielle Archer, meanwhile, said while they were glad that justice had been served, there are regrets.

"There needs to be the resumption of interim payments to persons like Mr Lawrence,which would ease his financial burden during the trial," Kinghorn said.

The act of interim payment was repealed in Jamaica in 2011. This prevents persons having a strong case from getting money to help themselves.

Justice Brian Sykes handed down the award in the Supreme Court on Friday January 11.

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