Result: $3.2 Million Settlement for Union Carpenter Injured by a Falling 670-pound Plate
The Perecman Firm secured a $3,200,000 million settlement for the family of a union carpenter who was seriously injured by a falling plate and later died from issues tied to the accident after the lawsuit was filed.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. represented a client who sustained injuries to his ankle, a leg, his pelvis and several ribs. After filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff's decedent died because of acute toxicity caused by combined use of alcoholic beverages and morphine, which was prescribed to address an injury related to the accident. Because of this the estate's counsel contended that his death was a product of the accident.
On Feb. 23, 2013, the plaintiff's decedent, a union-affiliated carpenter and foreman, worked at a construction site. Large plates, whose weight approximated 670 pounds, were being hoisted to various levels of a skyscraper. The plaintiff's decedent had loaded the hoist. During the course of the operation, one plate fell out of the hoist. The plate plummeted some nine feet, landed on the ground, bounced and struck plaintiff's decedent.
The plaintiff's decedent sued the construction project's general contractors and the site's owner. The plaintiff's decedent alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law.
He died after the lawsuit had been filed. The suit was continued by his estate.
The estate's counsel contended that the accident was a result of a failure of the hoist. The plate and the hoist's lifting ring had been attached via a metal rod and nuts, but the hardware could not support the plate's weight. The rod was a soft metal object that was being used in place of the hardened steel eye bolt that was a standard component of the hoist's ring. The steel bolt had been lost. The estate's counsel claimed that the ring's manual specified that the steel bolt was a necessary component of the ring. The estate's expert metallurgist opined that the bolt's absence undermined the ring's integrity, and he contended that the plaintiff's decedent should have been warned that the hoist could have failed.
The estate's counsel also contended that the plaintiff's decedent had not been provided an appropriate wrench and therefore could not fully tighten the nuts that were securing the plate. The estate's expert metallurgist opined that the plaintiff's decedent should have been provided a torque wrench.
The estate's counsel contended that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard, as defined by Labor Law 240(1), and that the plaintiff's decedent was not provided the proper, safe equipment that is a requirement of the statute.
Defense counsel contended that the accident was a result of the plaintiff's decedent having failed to adequately secure the plate. They claimed that he merely hand-tightened the securing nuts, rather than utilizing a wrench. They contended that the plaintiff's decedent was the competent person in charge of the work and therefore should have understood the danger created by an inadequately secured load.
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. The defendants' insurers agreed to pay a total of $3.2 million.