Samuel James and Lorraine James v. Southwest Fixture Installers, Inc., Nationwide Fixture Installations, Inc., American Installation Companies, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Icn., Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc., Kate Spade LLC, The Store Kraft Manufacturing Company, Deer Park Enterprise, LLC

/ / Case Verdicts

Case Name

Samuel James and Lorraine James v. Southwest Fixture Installers, Inc., Nationwide Fixture Installations, Inc., American Installation Companies, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Icn., Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc., Kate Spade LLC, The Store Kraft Manufacturing Company, Deer Park Enterprise, LLC

Type of Injury

HEAD INJURY

Occupation

Security Guard

Location

New York, New York

Verdict

The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. The insurer of American Installation, Nationwide Fixture Installations and Southwest Fixture Installers agreed to pay $5 million. The remaining defendants did not contribute. The parties are also negotiating a reduction of Mr. James’ workers’ compensation lien.

Verdict Amount

$5,000,000

Case Details

During the evening of June 19, 2012, plaintiff Samuel James, 63, a security guard, worked at a shopping center that was located at 152 The Arches Circle, in the hamlet of Deer Park. Workers were installing a prefabricated salon wall in a store, and James was overseeing the site to prevent theft or property damage.

The wall was delivered in two sections. Workers unpackaged the first section and situated it in an upright position. While the second section was being unpackaged, the first section fell and struck James. James sustained an injury of his head.

James sued three commonly owned companies that had been hired to install the prefabricated wall, American Installation Cos., Nationwide Fixture Installations Inc. and Southwest Fixture Installers Inc.; the prefabricated wall’s manufacturer, The Store Kraft Manufacturing Co. Inc.; the store’s owner, Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc.; a related entity, Kate Spade LLC; the shopping center’s owner, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc.; and the shopping center’s developer, Deer Park Enterprises, LLC. James alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law.

Fifth & Pacific and Kate Spade LLC impleaded James’ employer, SOS Security LLC. Fifth & Pacific and Kate Spade LLC alleged that SOS Security was negligent in its training of James. They sought indemnification.

James claimed that no measures were undertaken to ensure his safety during installation of the wall. James’ counsel contended that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard, as defined by Labor Law § 240(1), and that James was not provided the proper, safe equipment that is a requirement of the statute. He also contended that the defendants failed to provide or ensure reasonable and adequate protection, as required by Labor Law § 241(6). He further contended that the defendants violated Labor Law § 200, which defines general workplace-safety requirements.

The direct defendants’ counsel contended that James’ employment was not related to the installation that was being performed, and, as such, they claimed that the cited Labor Law statutes were inapplicable.