Paul Macri v. Park South Associates, Inc.; Starrett Housing Corp. ; and HRH Construction Corp. v. G.M. Crocetti and Paramount Plumbing Co., Inc.;
Type of Injury
MULTIPLE LEG FRACTURES
New York, NY
IX/21-1 FALLDOWN CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT LABORER SLIPS ON DEBRIS WHO HAD RESPONSIBILITY FOR CLEANING AT ISSUE MULTIPLE LEG FRACTURES
Paul Macri v. Park South Associates, Inc.; Starrett Housing Corp. ; and HRH Construction Corp. v. G.M. Crocetti and Paramount Plumbing Co., Inc.; VAL Floors; P&M Sorbarra-Argus Construction; and F. Garofalo Electric 629/89 3-week trial Verdict 9/11/91 Judge Burton S. Sherman, New York Supreme
VERDICT: $465,500 (6/0). Breakdown: $100,000 for past pain and suffering; $50,000 for future pain and suffering; $63,000 for past lost earnings; $240,000 for future lost earnings; $12,500 for medical expenses. Liability: HRH 65%; Paramount Plumbing 20%; Crocetti 5%; VAL Floors 5%; P& M Sorbarra 5%; Garofalo 0% negligent. Starrett was let out during trial. Jury: 3 male, 3 female.
Pltf. Atty: Donald Miller of Landau & Miller, Manhattan
Deft. Atty: John J. Laden of Gordon & Silber, Manhattan, for Park South, Starrett, and HRH
A. Lorenzo Bryan of Peter Broderick, Manhattan, for G.M. Crocetti
Thomas E. Tookey of Quirk & Bakalor, Manhattan, for Paramount
Lawrence A. Doris of Flynn, Gibbons & Dowd, Manhattan, for VAL Floors
Howard S. Robin of Joseph Conklin, Manhattan, for P&M Sorbarra
Gary P. Muhlstock of Ahmuty, Demers & McManus, Albertson, for Garofalo
Facts: This incident occurred on 9/23/87 at about 10 AM at the Trump Park Building at 100-106 Central Park South. Pltf., a 58-year-old plumber employed by Paramount Plumbing (20% liable), was sent to an apartment in the building to complete a plumbing connection under the kitchen sink. Pltf. claimed that when he walked into the kitchen, he slipped and fell on debris on the floor. He testified that the debris consisted of cardboard, tile, wood, and sawdust.
Pltf. contended that Defts. were negligent under the Labor Law for failing to provide him with a safe place to work. Defts. claimed that the condition was open and obvious and that Pltf. should have seen the debris on the floor and avoided it. Defts. also contended that it was the responsibility of HRH, the general contractor (65% liable), to clean and maintain the area. HRH contended that as Pltf.’s employer, it was Paramount’s responsibility (20% liable) to ensure that the room was clean and free of debris before sending Pltf. in to work. Park South was the owner of the building, G.M. Crocetti (5% liable) installed the tile floor, VAL Floors (5% liable) installed the parquet floor, P&M Sorbarra (5% liable) was the carpentry subcontractor, and Garofalo (not liable) was the electrical subcontractor. Starrett was let out during trial.
Evidence indicated that each of the Defts. had done some work in the room before the accident. HRH contended that Defts.’ employees should have cleaned up after themselves. Defts. contended that HRH employed 26 workers whose only job was to keep the area clean. They also contended that the type of debris that was left on the floor was the type that the laborers should have cleaned. Defts. also claimed that HRH was obligated by its contract with the subcontractors to keep the area clean. Defts. noted that HRH was unable to produce its work records at trial. The general contractor could only produce records from 2-3 days, out of 30 days of work.
Also at issue was when each Deft. had worked in the kitchen. P&M Sorbarra had been one of the last to work there because its workers had installed the molding and kitchen cabinets. Sorbarra argued that the floor was clear of debris because its workers needed an open space within which to install the kitchen cabinets. G.M. Crocetti, which installed the tile floor, also was one of the last to work in the kitchen, but it claimed that the floor was clear, arguing that a tile floor must be absolutely clean and free of debris to set properly.
Injuries: comminuted spiral fracture of the tibia and fibula requiring closed reduction. Pltf. claimed that he has some shortening in the leg. He also claimed that he still experiences pain in his knee. He claimed that he is no longer able to work. Defts. contended that Pltf.’s leg healed well with no complications. No offer; demand: $750,000. Pltf. Experts: Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation expert, Manhattan; Marissa Sacher, physical therapist, New Jersey; Dr. Murray Burton, orth. surg., Manhattan. Pltf. also called Kevin O’Lenahan, a union representative, who testified as to Pltf.’s union benefits. Deft. Expert: Dr. Stanley Liebowitz, orth. surg., Manhattan.