$3,411,000 Settlement for a Building Superintendent Hit By a Brick That Fell From a Suspended Scaffold
COURT AND COUNTY
Supreme Court, Kings County
AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
The plaintiff was a 39-year-old building superintendent at the time of the accident.
DESCRIPTION OF CASE
The defendant, a construction company, was hired to remove “coping stones” from a building wall. Coping stones function as barriers which keep water from penetrating the brick layer it conceals. The stones covered a 100-foot terrace wall and two 10-foot terrace walls. The owner of the construction company alleged there were three construction workers on the site that day working on the walls. These workers were the construction foreman and two laborers. One of the laborers alleged that the owner of the building, who lived in the penthouse apartment, had been chipping away at the “setting bed” of the coping stones, which is the cement layer that connects the coping stones and underlying brick.
The plaintiff was serving as the building superintendent at the time of the accident. The plaintiff was standing beneath a spider scaffold attached to the aforementioned building. The plaintiff was identifying the area of a leak for the construction foreman on the 100-foot wall covered in coping stones. The plaintiff was looking up when he was struck in the face by an unsecured brick that had fallen off of a scaffold about nine or 10 stories above him. The plaintiff was taken to the hospital and treated for several injuries.
INJURIES AND DAMAGES
The plaintiff suffered injuries to multiple parts of his body as a result of the accident. He sustained a bulging disc in the lumbar spine and a herniated disc at the C5-C6 vertebrae, which caused significant back pain. The fact that the brick hit the plaintiff’s face caused serious dental issues, facial fractures, and damage to the mandible. There was also a fracture to his eye orbit and zygomatic arch. He had to undergo epidural and cortisone injections and regular physical therapy. He was unable to walk even short distances without fear of falling.
The plaintiff also complained that the accident aggravated a prior knee injury. The plaintiff suffered from ongoing back pain, neck pain, headaches, and dizziness. The plaintiff needed multiple surgeries for both his neck and back. He underwent a cervical fusion and eventually had neurosurgery as well. There was much scarring and disfigurement as a result of his injuries, particularly the ones to the face. The plaintiff also suffered from significant emotional distress. He suffered bouts of depression and anxiety, and was on heavy pain medication due to the severity of the pain he experienced on a daily basis. The plaintiff also suffered loss of consortium, which caused him to be deprived of the benefits of familial relationships. This included not being able to play with or take care of his young children.
This case was negotiated in a pre-trial settlement for $3,411,000.
This case was handled by firm Partners Jeffrey A. Block & Daniel P. O’Toole.