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ARTICLE ID 191764

$________ – LABOR LAW SEC. ________ (6) – ASSISTANT PLUMBER STEPS BACK WHILE INSPECTING PIPES ON CEILING AND TRIPS OVER CINDER BLOCK, LOSING HIS BALANCE – RIGHT LEG THEN FALLS INTO SMALL UNCOVERED OPENING FOR SUMP PUMP – PILON FRACTURE OF RIGHT ANKLE.

Kings County, NY

This action that was brought under Labor Law Sec. ________ (6) involved a then 47-year-old plumbers’ assistant who was involved with the construction of a 14 story condominium under construction that was owned by one of the defendants. The plaintiff contended that the condition of the basement violated portions of Industrial Code Sec. 23, which pertain to the presence of debris, such as cinder blocks, as well as inadequate lighting and an approximate eight inch diameter uncovered area over a sump pump. The plaintiff maintained that as he was inspecting pipes situated in the ceiling, he stepped back and tripped over a cinder block. The plaintiff maintained that he lost his balance and that his right foot fell into the hole created by the absence of a covering over the sump pump. The plaintiff contended that as the front of his foot struck the hole, the pressure of his weight on the ankle caused a pilon fracture in which a great axial load was placed on the distal tibia.

The plaintiff maintained that despite surgery, he will suffer extensive permanent pain and will be unable to return to work. The plaintiff also maintained that traumatic arthritis has commenced and that the plaintiff will probably need future surgery. The plaintiff further maintained that because of the alteration of his gait, he has developed lower back pain. The defendant would have contended that in view of the evidence that the plaintiff was looking up and stepping backwards when he tripped and lost his balance, it was clear that the amount of lighting in the room was not related to the happening of the accident.

The defendant would have also contended that the plaintiff was clearly comparatively negligent, in failing to observe and avoid the cinder block, pointing out that in discovery, the plaintiff testified that he was aware of the presence of a significant amount of debris in the room. The plaintiff would have countered that he worked as carefully as possible and that since he was involved in inspecting the overhead pipes, it was reasonable for him not to be cognizant of the cinder block. The plaintiff would have also contended that in view of the realities of the workplace, if he was vocal in previous complaints regarding the presence of debris in the workplace, it was doubtful if he would be able to obtain much work.

The plaintiff maintained that as he lost his balance and tripped in the hole, he fell and that the force of the weight of his body caused a pilon fracture that involved a very substantial amount of force that was placed on the distal tibia. The plaintiff underwent an open reduction and internal fixation. The plaintiff contended that despite the surgery, he continues to suffer very significant pain. The plaintiff’s orthopedic testimony would have reflected that traumatic arthritis has already commenced, and the plaintiff would have also maintained that it is likely that he will need surgery in the future.

The plaintiff, who was earning approximately $________ per year, contended that he will permanently be unable to work. The plaintiff would have also maintained that walking and engaging in everyday household tasks are painful and difficult. The plaintiff would have also argued that the jury could well determine, based on viewing medical illustrations and X-rays that the disruption in the ankle area was very severe.The case settled after jury selection for $________.

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