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$1.75 Million Settlement for Union Laborer Injured During Con Edison Street Opening Project

Our client, a union laborer, was working on a project that required him to use a jackhammer to break up portions of a Brooklyn street, so that electrical work could commence underneath the roadway. While breaking up the asphalt, he fell through a portion of the road that had collapsed. This led to pain in his neck, back, knee, and shoulder; he eventually had to have multiple surgeries, and still was unable to return to work after the accident. Although the defendants argued that the accident never actually happened, this case settled before trial, in the discovery phase of the lawsuit, for $1.75 million. 

Court and County

Supreme Court, Kings County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff

Plaintiff was a 33-year-old union laborer on the date of incident.

Description of Case

The circumstances of Plaintiff’s case were highly disputed. Plaintiff was working for a subcontractor of Con Edison, who was running a project that involved electrical work underneath a roadway in Brooklyn. Plaintiff claimed that he was using a jackhammer to break up portions of the street, which was near the intersection of Avenue T and East 9th Street.

As he was breaking up asphalt, Plaintiff stated that the part of the roadway he was standing on suddenly collapsed, causing him to fall approximately six feet to the level below the street and suffer injuries. Our lawsuit alleged that the defendants, Con Edison and The City of New York, should have known that this portion of the roadway would be subject to caving in, and therefore should have not allowed Plaintiff to jackhammer in the area, or at least should have provided some sort of warning in the form of signage, caution tape, and/or verbal instructions.  The defense claimed that the accident never happened at all. They planned to call witnesses who were at the scene to testify that Plaintiff had complained about pain that morning before he started working, and that Plaintiff never fell into any hole. Had the case proceeded to trial, the credibility of these distinct accounts would have been tested by a jury, but this case settled prior to trial.

Injuries and Damages

Plaintiff did not seek any medical treatment until the day after the accident. He then began a course of medical treatment for pain to his neck, back, right knee, and right shoulder. Following a long course of physical therapy and multiple injections, including epidural steroid injections, Plaintiff underwent four surgeries. Those surgeries included a one-level cervical spine fusion, a two-level lumbar spine fusion, and arthroscopic surgeries to his right knee and shoulder. The surgeries provided some relief, but Plaintiff had ongoing pain and significant limitations.

Plaintiff did not return to work after the accident. We claimed damages on his behalf for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, and lost earnings.

Settlement Amount

This case settled during the discovery phase of the lawsuit and well before trial – for $1,750,000.

Handling Attorneys

Firm Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher handled this case.


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