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Douglas Holka, a North Tonawanda ventilation system repairman, has accepted a pre-trial insurance settlement of nearly $2.8 million for the career-ending back injury he suffered when he fell onto a concrete floor while repairing the Mount Mercy Academy ventilation system four years ago.

Holka, 38, agreed to the insurance settlement after four days of jury selection before acting State Supreme Court Justice Glenn R. Morton in Buffalo.

Michael D. Braisted, Holka's attorney, said his client will get the cash settlement within about a month from insurance carriers for defendants he said he couldn't reveal because of confidentiality agreements that resolved the negligence case.

Court documents confirmed the cash settlement.

Holka was on the roof of the school in South Buffalo when a defective ladder broke and he fell 15 feet through an open hatch onto a concrete floor.

He suffered severe lower back injuries and hasn't worked since the accident.

Braisted said Holka will never be able to work again and still suffers chronic pain.

He has undergone surgery three times and may need additional surgery because of the pain he will likely have the rest of his life, the attorney said.

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