WRSMH Attorneys Frank J. Lombardo and Carmine Goncalves settled this matter prior to jury selection in Rockland County for $4,500,000.00. The plaintiff, a 42 -year-old union bridge painter, was using a sand blasting hose and gun to empty the grit machine when the dead man switch malfunctioned causing him to lose control of the equipment and be thrown backwards onto a wooden pallet. Plaintiff’s claims were based on violation of Industrial Codes 23-1.5(c)(3), which requires that “all safety devices . . . be kept sound and operable … and … immediately repaired or restored or … removed from the job site if damaged” and 23-9.2(a), which requires that all “equipment … be maintained in good repair and in proper operating conditions at all times”.

As a result of the fall, the plaintiff was required to undergo a partial discectomy at L5-S1 and revision lumbar laminectomy and lumbar interbody fusion; left shoulder diagnostic arthroscopy, arthroscopic to repair a SLAP lesion; and arthroscopic debridement of partial triangular fibrocartilage complex tear of the left wrist.

The defendant’s witness contended that the accident did not occur at all and that another worker used the same equipment prior and subsequent to the plaintiff and had no difficulty. We countered this argument with two other witnesses that observed the accident and had similar issues with the sand blasting equipment. The defense also contended that the plaintiff’s credibility was at issue and his economic loss claim was minimal due to his providing a false social security number to the Bridge Painter’s Union Local 711 and his employer.

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