Kenneth Halperin and Noah Katz, attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, obtained a $2,500,000 settlement for a 42-year-old construction worker who tripped and fell on top of plywood stacked next to a ladder he was descending moments before.
The plaintiff was using a ladder to go up to the third floor of the construction site. The staircase to reach the third floor, which normally provided access, was unusable because of other workers performing renovation work. As a consequence of the accident, the plaintiff sustained an injury to his ankle and spine, both of which required surgery.
The case reached a settlement during the course of discovery, following depositions.
The defendants' case since the beginning was that the plaintiff chose to use a ladder to reach an upper floor instead of the safe and available staircase, and that the pile of wood was typical and ordinary on a construction site.
Notwithstanding the defendants' position, Ken and Noah showed, through deposition testimony of various witnesses on the construction site, that the defendant, a general contractor, was responsible for safety on site, yet permitted the wood to be placed near the plaintiff's ladder, and that the wood posed a hazard to the plaintiff as he descended from his ladder, given its close proximity to the plaintiff's work area.
Ken and Noah also demonstrated a pattern on this construction site: that ladders were used in place of stairs, and the only means to access the upper floor was to use the ladder positioned next to the wood.
This evidence resulted in an efficient resolution of the case prior to trial and in less than two years since the plaintiff's accident.