Attorneys Carmine Goncalves and Erin K. Hurley of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP secured a $5.4 million settlement for a 40-year-old undocumented concrete worker. Our client was working on a 17-foot-tall wall that he was attached to by a harness and chain. No scaffolding had been provided, so he and his co-workers had to climb the form wall and secure themselves to the frame with a heavy chain. While he was working, the chain's connection to the harness broke, causing him to fall. Because he was wearing a harness when he fell, it prevented him from falling to the ground, but the force of gravity caused him to slam into an adjacent wall and remain suspended in the air.

Defendants attempted to argue that there was no liability because the lanyard prevented him from striking the ground. However, Carmine and Erin countered this by asserting that, according to the statute, Defendants are obligated to provide the plaintiff with suitable safety devices to prevent any falls. Here, they failed to provide scaffolding or other safety means to prevent a fall of any type. The mere fact that the plaintiff fell a significant distance and struck a wall with sufficient force to sustain injuries constituted a violation of the Labor Law.

As a result of the accident, our client suffered herniated discs to his neck requiring fusion surgery, herniated discs to his lower back necessitating a lumbar fusion, SLAP tears of both shoulders with surgical repair to one shoulder, a torn meniscus in the left knee requiring two surgeries, and a right foot fracture requiring surgery for repair.

The matter was resolved through private mediation while on the trial calendar. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was pending.

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