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ARTICLE ID 195804

$________ – CONSTRUCTION SITE NEGLIGENCE – PLAINTIFF CONTENDS GENERAL CONTRACTOR CONSTRUCTS RAMP WITH INADEQUATE SUPPORT – RAMP ALLEGEDLY BREAKS AS PLAINTIFF HAZMAT EMPLOYEE AND CO-WORKERS ARE "SHIMMYING" BOILER DOWN RAMP AND BOILER FALLS ONTO PLAINTIFF – WRIST AND HAND FRACTURES REQUIRING SURGERY – COMPARTMENT SYNDROME REQUIRING FASCIOTOMY – PERMANENT PAIN AND LOSS OF USE OF HAND – TIBIA/FIBULA FRACTURES REQUIRING OPEN REDUCTION AND INTERNAL FIXATION – ANKLE FRACTURE WITH SURGERY

Essex County, NJ

This case was brought by a 46-year old plaintiff HAZMAT worker whose employer had been hired in connection with the removal a large commercial boiler that was contaminated with asbestos. The boiler, which weighed approximately ________ pounds, and which was approximately seven feet tall, was situated in the basement. A wooden ramp had been constructed, and the workers were shimmying the boiler down the ramp to bring the boiler to an open area below the basement level. The plaintiff contended that as the workers were doing so, the ramp cracked, and the boiler fell onto the plaintiff. The plaintiff maintained that the ramp was constructed by the defendant general contractor, and that this defendant negligently failed to provide sufficiently strong beams under the ramp to provide adequate support.

The defendant general contractor denied that it built the ramp, and supported that such work had been done by stone cutters at the site. The plaintiff countered that the records reflected that the stone cutters had not done any work at the site until after the incident occurred, and the plaintiff maintained that this defense position should be rejected. The plaintiff also contended that irrespective of this factor, the defendant general contractor had the duty with respect to the safe removal of the boiler. The plaintiff pointed to email correspondence between the defendant general contractor and the architect, where it was contemplated that the general contractor would implement a plan. The plaintiff maintained that in an email, the architect had suggested that a crane be used to remove the boiler and place it in the HAZMAT truck. The plaintiff contended that rather than follow this suggestion, the defendant general contractor decided to build a ramp. The plaintiff’s engineer maintained that the beams under the ramp were inadequate, resulting in the ramp breaking and the boiler toppling.

The plaintiff also presented photographs that showed the damage to the ramp. The evidence reflected that it took between 30 and 45 minutes to extricate the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered multiple left wrist and hand fractures, requiring surgery. The plaintiff developed compartment syndrome and required a fasciotomy. The plaintiff opined that he will suffer extensive permanent pain and loss of use of the hand and uses a wrist brace.

The plaintiff further contended that he required an open reduction and internal fixation because of the tibia/fibula fractures and surgery to treat the ankle fracture as well. The plaintiff maintained that these injuries will cause permanent pain and difficulties ambulating. The plaintiff currently uses a cane to walk, and indicated that he is hopeful of being able to wean himself off the use of a cane, but the plaintiff’s medical evidence reflected that it is questionable if he will be able to do so. The plaintiff contended that he is permanently unemployable.

The evidence further reflected that the plaintiff and his family emigrated to this country some years earlier, under a system in which people in his native country enter a “lottery,” in the hopes of being among those who are approved to emigrate. The plaintiff was one of the winners in this lottery. The plaintiff maintained that he and his family had built a good life in this country, and that the because of the injuries, his ability to enjoy it has been drastically affected. The plaintiff also maintained that he was previously very athletically oriented, was a soccer enthusiast, and will permanently be unable to play.Following mediation before the Hon. Jack L. Lintner, the plaintiff settled with the general contractor for $________. Shortly before trial, the plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement with the another entity at the job site for a confidential amount.

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