Nicolas Guaman & Paula Mayancela v. 1963 Ryer Realty Corp. & A Saad Contracting, Inc.
Type of Injury
INJURIES OF THE AORTA, ARM, BACK, ELBOW, HEAD, LUNGS, NECK, PELVIS AND 10 RIBS
Bronx, New York
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. AP TEK Restoration’s insurer agreed to pay $3 million, and the insurer of 1963 Ryer Realty and Gazivoda Realty–though fully indemnified by AP TEK Restoration’s insurer–tendered its policy, which provided $1 million of coverage. Thus, the settlement totaled $4 million. The settlement also included a waiver of the workers’ compensation lien. A Saad Contracting’s insurers disclaimed coverage and did not contribute. The settlement’s negotiations were mediated by Allen Hurkin-Torres, of Jams.
Guaman’s counsel reported that the settlement preserved 1963 Ryer Realty’s real estate equity, which approximated $2 million.
On Aug. 18, 2010, plaintiff Nicolas Guaman, 28, a laborer, worked at a renovation site that was located at 1963 Ryer Ave., in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx. During the course of his work, Guaman fell off of a scaffold that was suspended alongside a building’s exterior façade. He plummeted six stories, and he landed on an asphalt surface. Guaman sustained injuries of his aorta, an arm, his back, an elbow, his head, his lungs, his neck, his pelvis, his sacrum, his spleen, 10 ribs and a wrist.
Guaman sued the premises’ owner, 1963 Ryer Realty Corp.; the premises’ manager, Gazivoda Realty Co. Inc.; and the renovation project’s general contractor, A Saad Contracting Inc. Guaman alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law.
The defendants impleaded Guaman’s employer, AP TEK Restoration Inc. The first-party defendants alleged that AP TEK Restoration controlled and directed Guaman’s work functions. They sought indemnification.
Guaman claimed that the scaffold tipped when a ground-based worker prematurely released one of the scaffold’s two suspension ropes. Guaman’s counsel contended that the scaffold’s platform should have been protected by a railing.
Guaman also claimed that the accident occurred before he was able to tie himself to a secure point. He was wearing a safety harness and was attached to a safety line, but he claimed that his harness’s latch malfunctioned and disengaged.
Guaman’s counsel contended that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard, as defined by Labor Law § 240(1), and that Guaman was not provided the proper, safe equipment that is a requirement of the statute. Guaman’s counsel also contended that the defendants violated Labor Law § 200, which defines general workplace-safety requirements.
The direct defendants’ counsel contended that Guaman’s injuries were a result of Guaman having failed to properly engage his safety harness.
AP TEK Restoration’s counsel claimed that his client was not involved in the renovation project. He claimed that Guaman’s participation stemmed from a private agreement negotiated by A Saad Contracting and Guaman’s foreman.
Guaman’s counsel moved for summary judgment of liability, and the motion was granted. Judge Norma Ruiz found that the defendants violated Labor Law § 240(1). Ruiz also ruled that AP TEK Restoration had to fully indemnify 1963 Ryer Realty and Gazivoda Realty. The matter proceeded to damages.