$1,275,000 Settlement for Construction Laborer Who Fell Through an Opening at the Work Site


November 9, 2017


Supreme Court, Kings County


Plaintiff is 37 years old. Employed as a non-union construction worker


On the date of the accident, Plaintiff was working on a construction project which involved the gut renovation of a building in Brooklyn. He was working for a subcontractor of the general contractor. Plaintiff was instructed by his foreman to cut two pieces off of a steel beam located in the floor in the area of an uncovered opening. The opening was intended for a staircase to be installed later in the project. There was nothing between the opening and lower level, about 10-12 feet down, at the time of the accident.

Plaintiff was instructed by his foreman to place unsecured planks over the uncovered opening to support him while he performed the cutting work on the steel beam. But he was not provided with any devices to secure the planks and was not instructed to secure them in any way. Plaintiff placed two planks and cut the first piece of steel. He then went to obtain more planks to cover the opening in the area where he had to cut the second piece of steel. Plaintiff obtained and placed a third plank. The accident occurred as Plaintiff was walking to obtain a fourth plank. When Plaintiff took a step, the unsecured planks failed to support him, causing him to fall through the opening to the basement floor.

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants, the owner and general contractor of the construction site, violated Labor Law §240. The Defendants alleged that the Plaintiff did not follow his foreman's instructions regarding how to perform the work and also should have been wearing a harness with a lifeline attached as proper fall protection. After the completion of discovery, the Plaintiff moved for summary judgment based on the alleged violations of Labor Law §240 by the owner and general contractor. After oral argument, the Court granted the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.


As a result of the accident, the Plaintiff suffered injuries to his left shoulder and left elbow. He suffered a Comminuted fracture of the left proximal humeral diametaphysis with extension into the humeral head which required open reduction and internal fixation surgery of the left proximal humerus. He also suffered posterior dislocation of the left elbow with oblique fracture through the left radial head and neck which required left elbow incision and drainage with radial head replacement and ulna collateral ligament repair and irrigation and debridement of the left elbow. He also sustained ecchymosis about the left upper extremity and his injuries caused limitations in the range of motion of his left shoulder and left elbow.

Plaintiff made allegations of future healthcare needs and costs and future lost wages.


The parties negotiated a $1,275,000 pretrial settlement.


This case was handled by Daniel P. O'Toole, Esq. and Frederick C. Aranki, Esq.