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ARTICLE ID 161717

$________ TOTAL - CONSTRUCTION SITE NEGLIGENCE - FAILURE TO SECURE FLOOR PLANKS AT RAILROAD STATION RENOVATION PROJECT - TWO WORKERS FALL - PLAINTIFF SUFFERS LEG AND HAND FRACTURES AND AGGRAVATION OF SPONDYLOLISTHESIS - CO- PLAINTIFF SUFFERS CONCUSSION, MULTIPLE RIB FRACTURES AND INNER EAR DAMAGE - BOTH CLAIM INABILITY TO WORK.

Essex County, NJ

This action involved 44-year-old and 49-year-old plaintiff iron workers who were involved in the restoration project at Newark Penn Station. The plaintiffs were on a scissors lift that was riding along the tracks in conjunction with activities related to bolting-up the overhead canopy. The plaintiffs contended that the defendants, owner and general contractor at the project, improperly failed to adequately secure the precast concrete planks that were to part of the passenger platform for the project, as is required by both OSHA regulations and the general contractor’s safety manual. The plaintiff’s maintained that the floor flipped over, resulting in the scissors lift toppling to the floor.

The plaintiffs’ proofs reflected that the defendants’ laborers installed the precast concrete panel, and were obligated by both OSHA regulations and the general contractor’s own safety manual to temporarily buttress the pre-cast planks until the final slab of concrete was poured in order to provide a safe working environment to workers on the jobsite. Additionally, discovery revealed that the defendant general contractor and owner approved the use of the man-lifts on the precast concrete panel.

The defendants maintained that a superintendent in the employ of a general contractor warned both plaintiffs shortly before the incident occurred that he felt the floor lift up when the equipment rode over the platform a short time earlier and that the plaintiffs failed to heed this warning. The plaintiffs denied that this testimony was accurate. The plaintiffs and several other co-workers denied that a warning was given and denied seeing this individual near the scene the night of the accident.

The 44-year-old plaintiff maintained that he sustained an aggravation of preexisting and previously asymptomatic spondylolisthesis that necessitated fusion surgery and the installation of hardware that will remain permanently. This plaintiff also sustained patella fractures and fractures of his dominant hand that required surgery and the insertion of pins. This plaintiff contended that he will permanently sustain pain, a significantly altered gait and difficulties walking relatively long distances. It was undisputed that this plaintiff’s injuries permanently preclude him from continuing employment as an iron worker. It was this plaintiff’s position that he was permanently unable to work. This plaintiff claimed lost wages that exceeded $________.

The co-plaintiff also maintained that he will permanently be unable to continue rigorous physical work or be employed as an iron worker. This plaintiff contended that because of the multiple rib fractures, he continues to suffer chronic chest pain which he maintained is permanent in nature. This plaintiff also suffered a fracture to a bone in the inner ear, and despite two surgeries, he permanently suffers a loss of hearing and episodes of vertigo that preclude him from being employed as an iron worker. The plaintiff also required a hearing aid which he contended he will use permanently. This plaintiff is currently working at less rigorous work and contended that his future wage losses will exceed $________.

The defendants denied that the claims of this plaintiff should be accepted and introduced surveillance tape depicting this plaintiff using a "weed whacker" in his back yard for approximately five minutes and his painting the door frame of his home.

The case involving the 44-year-old plaintiff settled during trial for $________. On the second day of deliberations, and the morning the jury returned a verdict, the parties entered into a $________/$________ high low agreement. The jury found the defendant 76% negligent, the non-settling plaintiff 34% negligent and rendered gross awards of $________ to this plaintiff and $________ to his wife on her per quod claim.

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