Attorney(s) for Plaintiff:
Frank J. Lombardo
Wingate Russotti Shapiro & Halperin
$11,756,810 VERDICT – CONSTRUCTION SITE NEGLIGENCE – LABOR LAW SEC. 240 (1) – FALLING OBJECT – PLAINTIFF PLUMBER STRUCK BY UNSECURED PIPE AND BUCKET OF TOOLS THAT FELL DURING INSTALLATION OF NEW WATER PUMP AT 30 ROCK – PLAINTIFF STRUCK WHILE IN PRONE POSITION PERFORMING SOLDERING WORK – LUMBAR HERNIATION CAUSING SEVERE RADIATING PAIN AND WEAKNESS DESPITE LUMBAR FUSION SURGERY – MEDIAL MENISCAL TEAR – ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY – TOTAL DISABILITY – INABILITY TO WORK OR CONTINUE ACTIVE LIFESTYLE – SURGICAL HARDWARE INSTALLATION.
Queens County, NY
This Labor Law action involved a 36-year-old plaintiff union plumber. The plaintiff contended that as a new water pump was being installed at 30 Rock, he was struck by an approximate 20-pound unsecured copper pipe that fell approximately 12 feet and a 40-pound bucket of tools that was situated on an A-Frame ladder. The plaintiff maintained that he was struck as he was lying down and performing soldering work.
The plaintiff asserted that he sustained a lumbar herniation with nerve root entrapment that will cause extensive permanent radiating pain despite surgery and a tear of the medial meniscus that will cause permanent pain and limitations notwithstanding arthroscopic surgery. The plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability was granted under the absolute liability provisions of Sec, 240 (1).
The plaintiff related that as he was working while in a near fetal position, he was struck by the falling objects. The plaintiff related that although he was grazed and not struck directly, he reacted instinctively and moved in a very hard manner. The plaintiff contended that although he was wearing denim, he suffered extensive lacerations and contusions and the plaintiff introduced photographs of such injuries.
The plaintiff maintained that he developed severe radiating lumbar pain after the accident. The plaintiff asserted that conservative care was inadequate, and that he required lumbar fusion surgery with the installation of surgical hardware. The plaintiff claimed that he will nonetheless permanently suffer extensive symptoms from both this injury and the tear of the medial meniscus. The plaintiff, who was earning approximately $40,000 per year, asserted that he will permanently be unable to work.
The defendant denied that the plaintiff suffered the claimed injuries as a result of the incident. The defendant pointed out that in the previous two-year period, the plaintiff had been involved in four motor vehicle accidents. Two of these incidents resulted in litigation. The plaintiff countered that following all of these accidents, he had made complaints of soft tissue injuries only, and did not indicate that he suffered any radicular symptoms.
The plaintiff contended that he cannot sit or stand for long periods of time without exacerbating the pain. The plaintiff maintained that he has been forced to live a much more sedentary life. The plaintiff related that he has been unable to continue participating in a handball league with his wife as he had prior to the incident. The plaintiff further related that he has been forced to curtail a favored activity of going on cruises with his wife. The plaintiff argued that the jury should consider that the loss of enjoyment of life is very significant. The plaintiff’s proofs further reflected that the pain often interferes with his ability to sleep.
The defendant also introduced surveillance videos which depicted the plaintiff hosing his car, walking his dog and buying sneakers. The plaintiff countered that the activities on the videos did not contradict his claims and did not show him engaging in rigorous physical activities. The plaintiff further argued that the jury should consider although some 93 minutes of video was made, only 11 minutes were presented to the jury.The jury awarded $11,756,810 including $100,000 for past pain and suffering, $8,000,0000 for future pain and suffering over 37 years, $200,000 for past lost earnings, $600,000 for future lost earnings over 20 years, $56,810 in stipulated past medical costs, $1,500,000 for future medical care over 37 years; $500,0000 to the wife for past loss of services and $800,000 to the wife for future loss of services.
Plaintiff's chiropractor expert: Richard Amato, DC from Queens, NY. Plaintiff's economist expert: Ronald Missun, Ph.D from Louisville, KY. Plaintiff's neurologist expert: Igor Cohen, MD from Queens, NY. Plaintiff's orthopedic spinal surgeon expert: Sebastian Lattuga, MD from Lake Success, NY. Plaintiff's orthopedic surgeon expert: Barry Katzman, MD from New York, NY. Plaintiff's radiologist expert: Thomas Kolb, MD from New York, NY. Plaintiff's vocational/life care planning expert: Harold Bialsky from Jersey City, NJ.
McGrath vs. RCPI 30 Rock, et al. Index no. 713224/15; Judge Timothy Dufficy, 10-18-19.
Attorney for plaintiff: Frank J. Lombardo of Wingate Russotti Shapiro & Halperin, LLP in New York, NY.
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