Juana Rodriguez v. Rego II Borrower LLC East Bay Mechnical Corp and RPC General Contractors, Inc.
Type of Injury
HERNIATED DISC AND ARM INJURIES
The jury found that East Bay Mechanical was liable for the accident. Prior to the scheduled start of the trial’s damages phase, the parties negotiated a settlement. East Bay Mechanical’s insurer agreed to pay $1,195,500.
On June 26, 2013, plaintiff Juana Rodriguez, 44, a cook, worked at a newly opened restaurant that was located at 6135 Junction Blvd., in the Rego Park section of Queens. While Rodriguez was exiting the restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator, she was struck by an A-frame ladder that had fallen from an upright position. Rodriguez claimed that she suffered injuries of an arm, her back, her head and a shoulder.
Rodriguez sued the premises’ owner, Rego II Borrower LLC; the general contractor that oversaw construction of the restaurant, RPC General Contractors Inc.; and a contractor that had serviced the restaurant’s air-conditioning system, East Bay Mechanical Corp. Rodriguez alleged that the defendants negligently created a dangerous condition that caused the accident.
Rego II Borrower and RPC General Contractors were dismissed. The matter proceeded to a trial against East Bay Mechanical.
Rodriguez claimed that the ladder had been folded and was leaning on a wall and concealed by the refrigerator’s door. Rodriguez’s counsel suggested that the ladder had been situated by an employee of East Bay Mechanical. He presented three of the restaurant’s employees, each of whom claimed that East Bay Mechanical employees had been working at the restaurant two days prior to the accident, that the workers had been using ladders similar to the one that struck Rodriguez, and that they had witnessed a ladder being used in the general vicinity of the area in which the accident occurred.
Defense counsel claimed that East Bay Mechanical did not own or use the ladder involved in the accident. East Bay Mechanical’s owner claimed that his company’s records suggest that the company’s workers had not visited the restaurant during the 22 weeks that preceded the accident, though he also claimed that any work performed in June 2013 would have been warranty work and therefore unbilled and undocumented. During cross-examination, he acknowledged that the company’s record-keeping was erratic and could have been inaccurate with regard to its last activity at the restaurant.