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Labor Law §§240 (1) and 241 (6)

On March 12, 2002 a building was under construction at 195 St James Place in Brooklyn, New York. A cement bricklayer was working laying cement blocks on the second floor of the building. The second floor was partially constructed with metal beams and decking, but the front wall was still open. A crane type of machine that is used to place pallets of materials on the upper floors of the building was brought in to place several fully loaded, very heavy pallets on the second floor.

Almost as soon as the pallets were placed, the cement brick layer went over to them to get a bag of cement. As he approached the pallets, the floor gave way under the weight of the pallets. The cement brick layer and the heavy materials that were on the pallets, plummeted 15 feet to the lower floor causing the victim to sustain severe injuries. The victim filed a lawsuit against the company who delivered the materials that collapsed the floor and against the company that the construction supervisor worked for.

The driver of the crane type truck that delivered the heavy materials to the site testified at trial. He stated that when he arrived at the site and saw the condition of the building, he prepared to unload the truck on to the sidewalk. He was approached by a supervisor of the construction site who told him that he would need to lift the pallets up to the second floor. He testified that he informed the supervisor that the pallets weighed much too much to be loaded directly on to the second floor. He advised the supervisor that he thought the weight would cause the floor of the building to collapse.

The supervisor told him to place the materials on the second floor. He told him that as soon as he placed a pallet, the workmen would go to the pallet and unload it which would distribute the weight evenly about the site and the floor would hold. The driver of the delivery truck told him that he did not like that idea. The supervisor was persistent. The driver placed one pallet of sand far back on the second floor. The supervisor told him that since the building did not shake that it proved that it would be safe to place more weight on the floor.

The delivery truck driver placed two more pallets on the second floor. The supervisor again told him that it would be safe because the weight would quickly be evenly distributed. When he got to the last few pallets that were loaded with heavy concrete blocks, the delivery truck driver was very concerned about the weight load on the unfinished second floor of the building. He unloaded the first of the concrete block pallets onto the side walk. The supervisor went over to the truck and started to yell at him about not putting it on the second floor. Again the driver warned the supervisor about the danger of putting the heavy pallets on the unfinished second floor. Again the supervisor vehemently admonished him to unload the pallets to the second floor. Since he was worried that the customer would complain if he did not deliver the pallets where the customer wanted them delivered, he went ahead and put all of the remaining pallets on to the second floor. He testified that it was only about four minutes after he put the seventh pallet on the second floor that it collapsed.

To Be Cont…

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