Construction Accident Litigation Dismissed

August 18, 2009

John E. Sparling won summary judgment dismissing the third-party action in the case of Burulcich v. Turner Construction Company in New York County Supreme Court on behalf of their clients, the third-party defendants Nelson Air Device Corporation, CW Sheet Metal, Inc. and Sirina Fire Protection.

Burulcich brought a lawsuit against the general contractor and various ownership entities alleging Labor Law §240(1), §241(6), §200 and common law negligence due to a trip and fall incident while engaging in construction activities at the United States Post Office located at 90 Church Street, New York, New York. In the complaint, plaintiff alleged that he sustained significant injuries; including, two lumbar surgeries, one being an interbody anterior lumbar fusion with the insertion of cages and screws at L3-L5. As a result, plaintiff claimed left leg numbness, back pain and a drop foot, before and after the surgeries.

Plaintiff alleged that he tripped and fell over improperly stored sprinkler piping as he was attempting to avoid being struck by improperly operated hydraulic lifts. The general contractor and various ownership entities brought a third-party action against the third-party defendants alleging that they improperly stored the piping and that they improperly operated the hydraulic lifts. Plaintiff conceded that he could not identity the owner of the piping or the operators of the hydraulic lifts.

A motion for summary judgment was filed in Supreme Court, New York County, based on evidence that third-party defendants’ properly stored their materials and there was no evidence that third-party defendants were operating the hydraulic lifts. As such, defendants could not make a prima facie case of negligence against them.   The Supreme Court granted third-party defendants’ motion and dismissed the claims against third-party defendants holding that the stored piping was proper and not a tripping hazard and that there was no evidence that the third-party defendants were operating the lifts on the day of the accident.