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Plaintiff Injured at Construction Site

In this case, Michael J. Spence was the plaintiff. The defendants were the Island Estates at Mt. Sinai II, LLC, Gessin Contracting Co., Inc., and Island Estates. Island Estates at Mt. Sinai II and Gessin Contracting were also third-party plaintiffs while Lakeville Industries was listed as a third-party defendant.

History

A New York Probate Lawyer said the primary plaintiff in this case, Michael J. Spence was injured in 2005 when making a delivery of a countertop to a property at the Mount Sinai Island Estates. In the course of the delivery, a rut in the ground caused him to trip, resulting in an injury. Lakeville Industries was the employer of Spence at the time. There are other complaints, separate from this which alleges negligence and violation of labor laws against Lakeville and the third-party complaint accuses Lakeville of negligence and breach of contract, among other things related to improperly protecting and insuring their employees.

The defendants in this case sought to have a summary judgment made which would dismiss the case. In order to support this motion, they submitted the bill of particulars submitted by Spence, the construction agreement involved in the job, the pre-trial examinations of Spence, Jim Meyn, and Richard Sirlin.

The original contract between Lakeville and Mt. Sinai II involved Lakeville agreeing to cabinetry to the homes in the development. Island Estates, the primary contractor was to be held legally harmless in their insurance policy. NYC Probate Lawyers said the company was also to provide liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage. According to this same agreement, it was the responsibility of the subcontractor to inspect and report any safety issues.

At the time the injury occurred, Spence was driving the delivery truck for Lakeville. With the help of his assistant, he had loaded a 20-22 foot long and 4 foot deep countertop into his truck. It weighed somewhere between 800 to 900 pounds. He was instructed to get assistance from someone at Island Estates to help unload the delivery because it was so large and heavy. The truck was able to be parked approximately 20 feet from the truck on a muddy surface. There was no path to the house where the delivery needed to go, and construction debris littered the site. The ground was also uneven with ruts cut into the mud. He, his helper and the Island Estates worker planned to pull the counter off the truck and carry it together. While walking, his foot caught in one of the ruts which caused the load they were all carrying to unbalance. Although the delivery was completed, he says that he felt pain in his left side shoulder and arm, as well as along his neck and back. He states that the rut had tire tracks in it, and that he had made deliveries and noticed the ruts previously, although he hadn’t complained of them.

Mr. Meyn testified prior to the trial’s beginning that he had been an employee of Island Estates for 27 years. Queens Probate Lawyers said he worked each day at the housing site where the injury happened where his duties include construction, as well as supervising the site and keeping the log. He knew that employees sometimes had to help with Lakeville deliveries, but had not been aware of the delivery in question. He also mentioned that another contractor was responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the site.

Sirlin is the President of Lakeville. He said that typically Lakeville delivers only much lighter laminate counter tops rather than heavy stone ones. He did not have an invoice to verify what type of countertop was delivered that day.

Results

The defendants that moved for dismissal of the case could not present sufficient evidence to dismiss with a summary judgment. Too many questions remain; including who the contractor was that was supposedly responsible for the cleanup of the site. It is also not clear who the general contractor in charge of the site was at the time of the incident. The other motion to dismiss which was put forward by Lakeville and Sirlin was also dismissed due to a lack of compelling and clear reasons why a summary judgment should be issued.

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