On Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, six people and three companies were charged for their role in the death of construction worker Luis Almonte Sanchez in a 2018 accident. All six defendants plead not guilty to their charges.
In September 2018, Sanchez was completing demolition, excavation, and foundation work on a construction site at 714 39th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn when unsafe work conditions led to his tragic death. As Sanchez worked in a trench on the site, a portion of an existing masonry wall collapsed, burying Sanchez under debris weighing thousands of pounds. Conditions at the site were so poor that emergency responders were unable to pull Sanchez out until the following day. Sadly, Sanchez died as a result of his injuries.
Prosecutors are charging a construction foreman, an engineer, and several other defendants with allegations related to this tragic accident.
At the Brooklyn Supreme Court on Thursday, the foreman at the site, Jiaxi “Jimmy” Liu along with Wilson Garcia and Paul Bailey were arraigned for manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, among other charges.
Both Liu and Garcia, a former supervisory inspector for the NYC Department of Buildings, have a criminal history. In 2015, the two were convicted of bribery after creating a false stop-work order for a Coney Island construction project and extorting money from property owners to have the work order lifted.
At the Brooklyn construction site, Liu allegedly ignored multiple safety warnings, including a cave-in warning before the accident occurred. Three months prior to the accident, the subcontractor on the site, WSC Group LLC, was cited for leaving a live electrical panel exposed on the construction site. Both Liu and WSC Group LLC are being held responsible for blatantly endangering the lives of all workers on the job site.
Additionally, defendant Siu Wah Maria Cheung-Mui was charged for criminally negligent homicide and defendants Jia Rong “Tommy” Liu (Liu’s brother) and Cindy Chai are charged with grand larceny, among other allegations including reckless endangerment and tax fraud.
Companies Bailey’s Engineering of Manhattan, WSC Group LLC of Brooklyn, and WS Construction Inc. of Brooklyn were charged with second degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
At a news conference on Thursday, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez blamed the defendants for the dangerous conditions that led to Sanchez’s “tragic and preventable” death.
“There is no mistake, this is not an accident what happened; this is a direct result of owner recklessness and neglect and the people who are in charge of this project were simply motivated by monetary reasons,” explained Gonzalez.
This incident provides a clear example of the importance of safety regulations on construction sites. In this case, there was blatant negligence on the part of those responsible for ensuring proper safety precautions on the job site. We hope that justice is found for the late Luis Sanchez.
The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have extensive experience in helping construction workers that have been injured due to another party’s negligence. Our results include an $11 million settlement for a Brooklyn construction worker who was severely injured after stepping on an unsecured cover placed over a hole in the floor and falling three stories to the ground.
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a construction accident, contact the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy for a free legal consultation by calling 212-736-5300 or filling out our online contact form.