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Result: $2.1 Million Settlement for Plumber Injured in Fall Into Unsecured Hole

The Perecman Firm secured a $2.1 million settlement for a plumber who was injured after falling into an unsecured hole.

The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. represented a client who sustained pilon fracture, open reduction, internal fixation, fracture, ankle, comminuted fracture, arthritis, and back injuries.

On May 26, 2009, the plaintiff, a plumber's assistant, worked at a construction site. He tripped while he was performing an inspection of a building's basement, and one of his legs fell into an uncovered hole in the floor. He sustained an injury of an ankle.

The plaintiff sued the site's owner and the construction project's general contractor. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law.

The defendants impleaded a subcontractor that worked at the site. The first-party defendants alleged that the subcontractor’s workers negligently created a dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff's accident.

The plaintiff claimed that he tripped on a cinder block while walking backward. He further claimed that the block had been discarded by an employee of the subcontractor. He also claimed that the basement was poorly lighted.

The plaintiff's counsel contended that the defendants violated New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations title 23, part 1.7(e)(2), which specifies that a work site's floors must be free of debris, scattered tools and materials, and sharp objects. They further contended that the violation established that the work site was not properly safeguarded, as required by Labor Law 241(6). The plaintiff's counsel also contended that the defendants violated Labor Law 200, which defines general workplace-safety guidelines.

Defense counsel contended that the cinder block was an open, obvious condition that the plaintiff could have easily avoided. They also contended that the accident was a result of the plaintiff having failed to maintain a proper lookout. Alternatively, they contended that the plaintiff could not establish that his fall was caused by a cinder block.

The subcontractor’s counsel also contended that the subcontractor had completed its work months prior to the accident and that the project’s general contractor was responsible for subsequent maintenance of the site.

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