Mitchell Kahn, partner at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, obtained a $2,200,000 settlement for a 30-year-old laborer who was injured while working at a construction site.
At the time of the accident, the plaintiff’s coworkers were removing metal forms off the walls. The forms were approximately 2’ x 6’ and weighed approximately 50 lbs. Two of the plaintiff’s coworkers were standing on two different 14-foot A-frame ladders, and were passing the forms down to two other coworkers on the ground. The plaintiff’s job was to pick up the forms after they were placed on the ground and take them to another location on the worksite. The plaintiff contended that while he was bending over to pick up a form, one of his coworkers accidently dropped a metal form on his neck, back, and left shoulder, violating Labor Law 240. The plaintiff did not see exactly what took place, and could only testify to what he believed took place.
As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained injuries to his left shoulder, cervical spine, and lumbar spine. The plaintiff required arthroscopic surgery to the left shoulder, a cervical fusion at C4-5, a lumbar laminectomy, and fusion at L4-5. There was no lost earnings claim.
The defendants contended that the forms were intentionally thrown down to the ground, and therefore they had no liability under Labor Law 240. If the defendants prevailed on this argument, this case could have been dismissed.
The case was settled after depositions and prior to motion practice. If the defendants were successful in their argument that Labor Law 240 was not violated, the case could have been dismissed. Mitchell Kahn was able to convince the defendants at mediation that WRSH would prevail on Labor Law 240, and the case was subsequently settled for $2,200,000.