$2,400,000 Settlement for Local 1010 Union Laborer Injured in Work Accident

Our client, a member of the Laborers' Local 1010 NYC Union, was cutting wood at a construction site in Queens. However, the saw he was provided with was not properly guarded and was only intended to cut concrete and asphalt, not wood. When he began to use the saw, it kicked back into his left arm, causing severe injuries. Represented by Block O'Toole & Murphy, he received $2,400,000.

Court and County
Queens County Supreme Court

Plaintiff Description
At the time of the accident, our client was 52 years old and had been a member of the Laborer's Local 1010 Union for 27 years. He worked his entire career with one company, doing work such as paving, road repair and manhole and sewer system installation. He is an American citizen who was born in Spain and is married with two children.

Description of Case
When this accident occurred, our client was working to install storm drains and manholes on the streets of New York City. Our client's employer had been hired by the City of New York to perform this task.

Our client was responsible for assisting union timbermen by cutting wood that was being used for the installation of sewers and manholes. Our client was provided with a Stihl S700 saw, which had been fitted with a 12-inch blade meant for cutting wood. However, this saw was only intended to cut concrete and asphalt, and thus using it to cut wood was in violation of the manufacturer's warnings. The saw also had no blade guard, another safety violation.

The pieces of wood were stacked on top of each other so they could be more easily cut. Our client grabbed the handle on top of the saw with his left hand, and the rear handle of the saw with his right. He stood with his left foot on the pile of wood and began to cut. When he started using the saw, however, it kicked back and struck our client on his left upper arm.

We argued that the unguarded saw was a violation of New York State Labor Law and New York Industrial code, which requires a saw to have a blade guard. We also argued that the use of a wood-cutting blade on the saw was unsafe and in direct violation of the manufacturer's warnings. Defendants argued that New York State Labor Law did not apply.

Injuries
Our client suffered gruesome injuries in this accident, as the blade partially amputated his left arm through the anterior skin, biceps muscle and humeral bone. A tourniquet was applied to the wound and our client was rushed to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with the following injuries:

  • Open partial left arm amputation
  • Anterior open comminuted humeral shaft fracture
  • Severed biceps and brachialis muscle

To treat these injuries, our client underwent an open reduction and internal fixation surgery with repair of left bicep and brachial muscle. After the operation, he began a course of physical therapy and utilized a bone growth stimulator. Although he maintained good use of this arm, he dealt with pain, decreased range of motion, weakness, numbness and tingling in his left forearm, thumb and index finger.

We claimed that these injuries were permanent, and the Defendants contended that our client had made a good recovery from his injuries, and that his pre-existing bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome contributed to the difficulties he was experiencing.

Settlement Amount
$2,400,000

Handling Attorneys
This matter was settled prior to trial by Partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue.