Ladder Fall Leads to Recovery for Injured Union Electrician

COURT AND COUNTY
Supreme Kings

AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
Plaintiff was a 41 year-old Local 3 Union Electrician at the time of the incident.

DESCRIPTION OF CASE
Plaintiff was installing a security and intercom system during the renovation of a large commercial warehouse into a condominium apartment building in Brooklyn. In order to reach a 13 foot high mezzanine level in the building's loading dock area, Plaintiff used an aluminum extension ladder that he found leaning against the side of the mezzanine. While descending the ladder to return to the loading dock's floor level, the ladder's feet suddenly slipped backward, causing the ladder and the Plaintiff to fall to the floor below. At the time of Plaintiff's fall, the ladder was not secured by mechanical means or by another worker. The ladder's owner was never identified. The defense established that staircases existed in the building, which led to the mezzanine level, and argued that Plaintiff was therefore solely responsible for his accident by choosing to use an unsecured ladder rather than the stairs.

Plaintiff moved for summary judgment against the Defendants on the issue of liability pursuant to New York Labor Law Section 240(1), and the Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's case entirely. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion against the Defendants, and denied Defendants' motion. As such, this case would have proceeded to a damages-only trial against the Defendant building owner and the contractor who retained Plaintiff's company on the project. Defendants filed an appeal of the Court's decision, which was still pending at the time of settlement.

INJURIES/DAMAGES
Plaintiff suffered a fracture of the left distal radius. The fracture was operated upon, via open reduction with internal and external fixation. The hardware was removed from Plaintiff's left wrist shortly thereafter. Plaintiff attended physical therapy for his wrist for a few months after his surgery, and then ceased treatment for his wrist entirely. Plaintiff also alleged lower back injuries from his fall. The defense vehemently challenged Plaintiff's back injury claims based on the fact that Plaintiff never made a low back complaint until almost 6 weeks after the incident, and upon Plaintiff's admitted long history of intermittent back pain that pre-dated this accident. Plaintiff's lumbar diagnostic studies were also negative for herniations or nerve damage.

Plaintiff returned to work five months after the accident, earning the same wages that he did prior to the accident. The defense claimed that Plaintiff had essentially recovered, and was fully functional in his ability to work and perform normal daily activities at the time of settlement.

The case settled prior to the scheduled trial date, and following a private mediation.

VERDICT/SETTLEMENT AMOUNT
$750,000

NOTE
This case was handled by Stephen J. Murphy, Esq. and David L. Scher, Esq.

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