FACTS AND ALLEGATIONS:
On May 19, 2007, the Plaintiff, a 37 year-old union electrician, was performing electrical work at the Pfizer building located at 685 Third Ave., New York, New York. His employer, Michael Mazzeo & Associates was hired by Morgan Construction, the general contractor on the project, to perform an electrical switchgear upgrade. In order to perform this work safely, it was required that Consolidated Edison de-energize the electrical power lines, which ran from the vault, located underneath the sidewalk of the building, into the basement area. At approximately 4:45 AM, Plaintiff was working in the basement of the building with his partner and attempting to connect the power line coming into the basement. He was caused to be shocked twice. The power line was tested immediately and found to contain 125 volts (household voltage). Plaintiff filed suit against Consolidated Edison, claiming that they were negligent in their failure to properly de-energize the subject power line. Suit was also commenced against Pfizer Inc. and Morgan Construction Enterprises Inc., alleging that they violated Labor Law Section 241(6) and the New York City Code of Rules and Regulations by allowing Plaintiff to work near live electrical current. Plaintiff's spouse filed a derivative claim. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment as to liability against all the defendants, alleging that Consolidated Edison was negligent in their de-energization of the subject power line and that Pfizer Inc and Morgan Construction Enterprises violated Labor Law 241(6). Plaintiff contended that there was no credible proof that he was comparatively negligent. Defendants Pfizer Inc. and Morgan Construction Enterprises moved for Summary Judgment as well, claiming that they were entitled to complete indemnification from Consolidate Edison as they were the sole reason that this incident occurred. Defendant Consolidated Edison claimed that Plaintiff was using excessive force during his work, causing the electrical line to become energized.
After receiving the two shocks, Plaintiff extricated himself from where he was working and did not fall. An ambulance arrived and administered an EKG, which was normal. He refused medical attention and the EMS report indicated that he had no pain nor discomfort. He proceeded to drive his partner home and then went to his home. That same day he presented to Nyack Hospital, complaining of pain in his hands and his torso. Plaintiff began treating with various medical providers, claiming that he suffered from memory loss, mood swings, dental problems and depression. EEGs were performed on him that were negative. His medical providers diagnosed him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression. The medical providers opined that he could no longer return to his prior occupation as an electrician. Consolidated Edison claimed the symptoms that the Plaintiff alleged could not have been caused by exposure to 125 volts, common household voltage. Furthermore, their vocational rehabilitation specialist would have claimed that Plaintiff was faking some of his tests and possibly malingering. Plaintiff's own neuro-psychologist indicated that some of his tests showed sub-optimal effort, but concluded that it was a result of his psychiatric problems and not due to malingering. Defendant would have further claimed that the depression was not a result of the accident, since Plaintiff had been provided with a prescription of Zoloft prior to his accident.
The case was resolved for $2,600,000 at mediation days before jury selection was scheduled to begin.
The case was handled by Daniel P. O'Toole of Block O'Toole & Murphy.