A New York jury has awarded $50.6 million to a worker left paralyzed after he fell 15 feet from a New York City scaffold in 2007. After a trial held solely on damages, the jury awarded the Plaintiff damages for economic loss, medical expenses and pain and suffering. The Plaintiff, Daniel Savillo, was less than two months into a new job with All Safe Heights Contracting Corp., a scaffolding company, when he was assigned to set up a platform on top of scaffolding in the company yard in Brooklyn. While laying sheets of metal on top of the scaffolding, the worker stepped on a badly-sized sheet and fell 15 feet, landing on the back of his neck. Savillo, 29, was diagnosed as a T-11 paraplegic with multiple brain hemorrhages and skull fractures.
Under New York law, Savillo couldn’t sue his employer, but was allowed to sue the property owner, Greenpoint Landing Associates. In the case, Greenpoint brought in All Safe as a third party Defendant on the issue of damages. Before trial, the Plaintiff won Summary Judgment on the issue of Greenpoint’s liability. A New York State labor code requires a property owner or general contractor to provide safety measures for scaffolding work and other raised worksites. It’s a strict liability statute. Greenpoint didn’t provide any fall protection, such as safety nets to catch a falling worker or a harness and retractable lanyard similar to what rock climbers use.
It was reported that Savillo, who had a solid work history as a member of the bricklayers’ union for over five years, took the job in scaffolding because it promised higher wages and benefits and more consistent work. A deposition of the owner of All Safe substantiated the Plaintiffs’ claims. The cost of the Plaintiff’s life care plan at present value was $9.2 million. Past pain and suffering was valued at $10 million and future pain and suffering at $25 million. The Plaintiff rejected a settlement offer of $8.1 million.
Interestingly, it was reported that no juror was over 30 years of age and that all jurors were well educated. At least half of the members of the jury had graduate degrees. Two of the jurors were lawyers and a tax lawyer at a national firm served as foreman. David Golomb of the Law Offices of David B. Golomb, located in New York City, represented the Plaintiff and did a very good job.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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