$5,750,000 Settlement for Laborer Pulled Down by Falling Stairs at Demolition Project
Our client, a 27-year-old laborer, was hired to work on a demolition project in New York. On the third floor of the building, Plaintiff and a co-worker were working together to remove a metal stairway. Plaintiff was instructed to secure the metal stairway, using a rope and his body, while his co-worker used a torch to cut the stairs. The co-worker accidentally cut fully through the stairs, causing them to detach and fall, pulling Plaintiff down to the ground with them. As a result of the two-story fall, our client suffered injuries to his left shoulder, left knee, cervical spine, and lumbar spine. Represented by BOM Partners Michael Hurwitz and Stephen Murphy, he received a $5,750,000 settlement.
Court and County
Plaintiff was a 27-year-old laborer on the date of the accident.
Description of Case
This matter stems from an accident that occurred during a demolition project in New York. Plaintiff, a laborer, was working for the demolition subcontractor at the site. The Defendants were the owner of the property and the general contractor. Plaintiff was working on the third floor during demolition work securing a portion of a metal stairway that was being cut by a co-worker with an oxy-acetylene torch using only a rope and his body. The co-worker accidently cut completely through the stairway causing it to entirely detach and fall thereby pulling Plaintiff over the edge with it to the ground below. It was alleged that Plaintiff was not provided with the appropriate safety devices and a safe place to perform elevated work in violation of New York’s Labor Laws. Plaintiff was granted summary judgment against Defendants regarding NY State Labor Law section 240(1).
As a result of the subject accident Plaintiff claimed to have sustained injuries to his left shoulder, left knee, cervical spine and lumbar spine.
Regarding the left shoulder, Plaintiff felt immediate pain to the left shoulder and eventually started a course of physical therapy and pain management. When conservative treatment was not providing relief, Plaintiff was recommended for surgery. He underwent surgery consisting of a left shoulder arthroscopic SLAP repair with debridement and decompression. The post-operative diagnosis was SLAP tear with extension into the biceps tendon and posterior labral tear.
Regarding the left knee, Plaintiff also started a course of physical therapy and pain management, including injections, all to no avail. Our client underwent a left knee arthroscopic surgery. The post-operative diagnosis was grade two lesion of the medial patella facet with unstable chondral flaps.
Due to progression of neck pain and the restrictions it was causing Plaintiff, he was referred for cervical MRI and upper extremity EMG studies which illustrated traumatic pathology including evidence of left-sided C5-6 radiculopathy. Plaintiff underwent a series of cervical injections which failed to provide relief. After conservative treatment failed, Plaintiff underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at the C5-C6 segment. Plaintiff continues to have significant neck pain and restrictions presently.
Due to progression of the lower back pain and the restrictions it was causing, Plaintiff was referred for lumbar MRI and lower extremity EMG studies which illustrated traumatic pathology including evidence of right-sided L5 radiculopathy. He underwent lumbar injections which failed to provide relief. After conservative treatment failed, our client underwent a decompressive lumbar laminectomy and discectomy at the L5-S1 segment. Unfortunately, this surgery did not provide relief of his symptoms and Plaintiff eventually underwent a two-level lumbar fusion at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 segments. Plaintiff continues to have significant lower back pain and restrictions presently.
The Defendants’ expert physicians argued that there was no objective evidence of any orthopedic disabilities. Further, it was argued that the cervical and lumbar spinal injuries were not causally related. Defendants claimed that all diagnostic studies illustrated chronic degenerative conditions of the cervical and lumbar spine that were pre-existing and that there were no acute traumatic conditions found on the radiology studies resulting from the accident. Further, Defendants argued that the cervical and lumbar spinal surgeries were not necessitated by the subject accident.
Defendants’ arguments stated Plaintiff’s injuries are all resolved and he does not require any further treatment and he can participate in all activities of daily living without restrictions. Finally, Defendants argued that although Plaintiff may not be able to return to his occupation in construction, he is otherwise employable on a full-time basis in many other occupations for which he qualifies that are less physical in nature.
Our client received a $5,750,000 settlement.
This matter was handled by Partners Michael J. Hurwitz, Esq. and Stephen J. Murphy, Esq.