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Block O'Toole & Murphy's Blog

Investigation Launched into Aetna Insurance Review Practices

Dr. Jay Ken Iinuma, a former medical director for healthcare giant Aetna, recently admitted in a deposition that he did not personally review medical records when approving or denying claims, instead relying on the recommendations of nurses.

This bombshell admission caught the attention of California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who has opened up an investigation to see just how widespread this issue is at Aetna, the nation's third-largest insurance provider with over 23 million customers.

Key Elements to Pursuing a Claim under New York's Scaffold Law

Construction is a notoriously dangerous industry. The work often involves heavy machinery, powerful tools, sharp blades, electric currents and toxic substances. The hazard that presents the greatest danger, though, is gravity.

Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among construction workers nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 40 percent of worker fatalities in 2016 resulted from falls.

New York State Construction Fatality Rate Skyrocketed in Past 5 Years

Alarmingly, the construction fatality rate in New York State skyrocketed in 2016, according to the latest Deadly Skyline report by New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH). 71 construction workers were killed in New York State in 2016 alone - a staggering number that the state hasn't seen since 2002. According to NYCOSH, there was a steep increase in the fatality rate far beyond the increase in labor, creating an "epidemic of construction fatalities."

In the past five years, the occupational death rate in construction increased by 29.5% in New York State. By contrast, New York City saw a 21.3% decrease in worker fatalities during that same period. In light of this report, the most pressing question that arises is: why? Why is the construction fatality rate in New York State 60% higher than in New York City? And additionally - what can be done about it?

Ju Cong Wu Killed in Elevator Shaft Fall at Gramercy Construction Site

Tuesday January 23rd marks a somber beginning to the week. At around 8:50am, Ju Cong Wu, 33-year-old worker who was installing an elevator car at 111 East 24th Street, fell nine stories to the bottom of the shaft and was fatally injured. EMS arrived at the construction site and pronounced him dead.

Shifts In NYC's Construction Safety Landscape For 2018

As we enter the new year, construction safety continues to be a priority for New York City officials, and rightly so. Two major changes to the city code will have a big effect on the industry. One aims to reduce accidents by imposing heightened training requirements. The other, however, limits the financial penalties the city can pursue against negligent parties in serious or fatal construction accidents.

NYC Construction Accidents: 2017 Year In Review

2017 was another busy year in New York City's seemingly never-ending construction boom. Cranes and scaffolding continue to decorate our city's landscape, and the sounds of construction continue to fill the air.

As we have written about frequently, construction activity is great for the local economy but also has its risks. Injuries and deaths on construction sites changed the lives of many workers and their loved ones this past year. As we begin looking forward to what we hope will be a safer 2018, let's take a moment to look back at the construction accidents our city witnessed in 2017.

2018 NYC Best Lawyers® Cover Features Block O'Toole & Murphy

Earlier this year, partners Jeffrey Block, Daniel O'Toole, and Stephen Murphy were once again honored by the Best Lawyers® list, and this month, all three are featured on the cover of the 2018 New York City Best Lawyers® magazine.

2018 Best Lawyers Cover Featuring Block O'Toole & Murphy

Tips For Safe Winter Cycling In New York City

Tragedy has struck again as a 67-year-old bicyclist has died after colliding with a Toyota Prius in Chelsea on November 29, according to the Daily News

The cyclist, Josef Mittleman, was heading down 11th Avenue in the early afternoon and struck the car after pedaling through a red light. He suffered a catastrophic head injury in the crash which proved fatal in the hospital the next day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the cyclists family as well as the driver of the car. This is a terrible situation for everyone involved, especially this close to the holidays.

Does the NYC Construction Boom Compromise Public Safety?

We have frequently written pieces that discuss our city's unprecedented construction boom, specifically focusing on the increased number of construction worker injuries and deaths that have accompanied the building activity. 

There is no sign of construction slowing anytime soon. In fact, "the city issued a record 88,838 construction permits over the last six months" according to data from the Department of Buildings. Another report estimates that construction spending in our city will reach $150,000,000,000 by 2019. 

Does the NYC Construction Boom Compromise Public Safety?

There is no sign of construction slowing down anytime soon in New York City. In fact, according to data from the Department of Buildings, the city issued over 88,000 construction permits in the past six months - a record high. Another report estimates that construction spending in our city will climb to reach a staggering $147.9 billion by the end of 2019.

Construction permits issued by NYC - 2000 to 2017


The building boom is great for the economy; however, as the non-stop construction shows no signs of dissipating, what does it mean for the growing number of New Yorkers who navigate the streets? According to the latest findings, it can spell very real dangers.