Painter Awarded $2,000,000 for Injuries Suffered in Ladder Fall

COURT AND COUNTY
Supreme Court, New York County

AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
At the time of the accident Plaintiff was a 49-year-old non-union painter.

DESCRIPTION OF CASE
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was working as a non-union painter at a residential six story building located in Manhattan. The job consisted of the painting of common areas, including bulkheads and walls located in the stairwells of the building.

At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was painting the stairwell located between the sixth floor and the rooftop. In order to paint the wall, Plaintiff placed a closed A-frame ladder on the landing of the stairs and leaned the ladder against the wall in a closed position. While Plaintiff was standing on the ladder and painting, he fell backwards landing on the steps below.

Plaintiff claimed that in order to paint the upper portion of the wall, he needed to use the ladder, however the ladder did not fit on the landing in an open position.

Defendant claimed the Plaintiff was specifically instructed not to use the ladder, that Plaintiff was given extension sticks to use to affix to his brushes and rollers and that Plaintiff was a recalcitrant worker and/or was the sole proximate cause of his accident.

Defendant made motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability pertaining to Labor Law 200 and 241(6), which was granted.

There were no dispositive motions made as to Labor Law 240(1), as the parties agreed that there existed triable issues of fact to be determined by a jury as to whether Defendant violated Labor Law 240(1), or whether Plaintiff was a recalcitrant worker and/or the sole proximate cause of his accident.

DAMAGES
As a result of the accident, Plaintiff was rendered unconscious for approximately five (5) minutes. Thereafter, he was taken via EMS to a hospital, with complaints of head and neck pain. A CT scan of the brain revealed an acute axonal injury with edema, hemorrhage and subdural hematoma. Chronic diffuse cerebral atrophy was also noted. An MRI of the Cervical Spine revealed disc protrusions at C3-C6, with disc bulging at C6-7. Plaintiff was treated and released one day later.

Following discharge, Plaintiff began a course of conservative treatment, including physical therapy. However due to ongoing symptoms, Plaintiff required two surgical procedures, including an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion at C6/7 and Lumbar Decompression at L5/S1.

Following surgery, Plaintiff experienced some relief, however remained symptomatic with neck and low back complaints.

Plaintiff alleged that his injuries were causally related to the accident and that his condition was permanent.

Defendants claimed that Plaintiff's spine condition was degenerative in nature, not related to the accident and that the surgeries were not indicated. Defendants also claimed that Plaintiff's ongoing cognitive dysfunction was related to a pre-existing brain atrophy.

RESULT
The matter was settled at a mediation prior to trial for $2,000,000

ATTORNEYS
The case was handled by partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue