Protruding rod made work site dangerous, carpenter claimed
|Labor Law, Slips, Trips & Falls - Trip and Fall, Construction - Accidents|
|Arnold Hicks v. Aurora Contractors Inc. Aurora Contractors of NY, Inc., and One Beard Street LLC, No. 22255/09|
|Kings Supreme, NY|
|Kenneth P. Sherman
- Joseph E. Gorczyca; Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C.; Jericho, NY, for Arnold Hicks
- Andrew Merola M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; Astoria, NY called by: Joseph Gorczyca
- Daniel Paine C.S.E.; Safety (Construction); Unionville, CT called by: Joseph Gorczyca
- Kevin G. Faley; Morris, Duffy, Alonso & Faley; New York, NY, for Aurora Contractors Inc., Aurora Contractors of NY Inc., One Beard Street LLC
- Joseph Pessalano M.A., C.R.C.; Vocational Rehabilitation; Garden City, NY called by: Kevin Faley
- Benjamin Rosenstadt M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; New York, NY called by: Kevin Faley
- Old Republic Insurance Co. for all defendants (excess)
- Arch Insurance Group for all defendants (primary insurer)
- The Navigators Group Inc. for all defendants (excess)
On May 22, 2007, plaintiff Arnold Hicks, 57, a union-affiliated carpenter, tripped while he was working at a construction site that was located at 1 Beard St., in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. He fell, and he claimed that he sustained injuries of a knee, his neck and a shoulder.
Hicks sued the premises' owner, One Beard Street LLC; the construction project's general contractor Aurora Contractors Inc.; and a related entity, Aurora Contractors of NY Inc. Hicks alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law.
Hicks claimed that he tripped on a steel reinforcement bar that was protruding from the ground. Hicks' construction-site-safety expert submitted a report in which he opined that the bar constituted a hazard in a passageway that the site's workers routinely used. Hicks' counsel contended that the hazard established that the site was not properly safeguarded, as required by Labor Law § 241(6).
Defense counsel contended that the accident occurred in a general work area--not a dedicated passageway. He claimed that the reinforcement bar was essential to work that was being performed when the accident occurred, and he contended that the accident was a result of Hicks' failure to exercise due caution.
Hicks claimed that he sustained a herniation of his C5-6 intervertebral disc and a tear of his left knee's medial meniscus. He also claimed that his right, dominant arm's shoulder sustained a superior-labrum-from-anterior-to-posterior tear, which is alternately termed a "SLAP" lesion."
Hicks contended that his injuries prevented his performance of a few days of work, and he claimed that his left knee's injury necessitated his use of a cane. During the week that followed the accident, he commenced a course of conservative treatment that ultimately included chiropractic manipulation and the administration of painkilling trigger-point injections. He contended that the treatment did not resolve his pain. On March 31, 2010, he underwent fusion of his spine's C5-6 level. On Jan. 21, 2011, he underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed his right shoulder. On April 20, 2012, he underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed his left knee.
Hicks claimed that he suffers residual pain and limitations. He has not worked since February 2008, and he contended that his residual effects prevent his resumption of work. He also contended that his residual effects restrict his performance of many of his household chores.
Hicks sought recovery of past and future lost earnings and damages for past and future pain and suffering.
The defense's expert orthopedist submitted a report in which he opined that Hicks did not sustain an injury. The expert contended that any injuries were degenerative conditions that were not related to the accident.
The defense's vocational-rehabilitation expert submitted a report in which he opined that Hicks can resume work. Defense counsel also contended that Hicks has not experienced an economic loss. He claimed that Hicks was not entitled to anything more than he has recovered via workers' compensation benefits.
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. The defendants' primary insurer agreed to pay $1 million, and the defendants' two excess insurers each agreed to pay $250,000. Thus, the settlement totaled $1.5 million.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.