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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Williamsburg Apartment Building: Lawsuit Aimed at Owner of Evacuated

A troubled building in Williamsburg that was evacuated by NYC not long before Thanksgiving this year is facing the latest crisis: a personal injury lawsuit brought by a worker on the site for injuries he received during a fall off scaffolding in September last year.

Alvin Eugene, the construction worker, claims he was unable to work for seven months after injuries to his wrist and knee as a result of the fall. Eugene is directing the lawsuit against the building’s owner, as well as a number of contractors. He claims that the scaffolding he had to use with other workers was improperly maintained, secured and placed. He is suing the parties mentioned above for medical bills he has had to pay, as well as lost wages and other undisclosed damages caused by his fall.

Not long before Thanksgiving, the Building Department’s inspectors examined the building and declared that parts of it were unsafe and ordered 50 residents to evacuate and a beauty salon to close until the building’s defects were rectified.

This is the last in what seems to have been a long line of problems that the owners of the building have faced. Most of the problems seem to relate to unsafe building practices and the use of contract construction workers who had not been issued with permits, as well as the failure to report an on-site job accident. The amounts that the owners have been fined seem quite low ($8,000 has been mentioned as the fine for the accident report failure) but this doesn’t seem to have had much effect on the owners who have continued to stumble along with the building.

The previous owner, Menachem Stark, suffered severe cash flow problems during the height of the 2006–2008 financial crisis and lost his life in a gory and much publicized way in January last year. His brother-in-law, Abe Bernat, took over the reins after Stark’s death, but seems to have continued the mismanagement of the building.

The construction worker who is currently suing the building’s owners, as well as the construction companies involved in the building work, are claiming around $77,000 for his injuries and has cited the absence of safety equipment like ladders, nets, ropes, scaffolds and other equipment that could be construed as safety gear. He is stressing that the conditions at the site showed carelessness, negligence and recklessness.

It looks as if the case is going to have to go to trial as Bernat is fighting back, claiming that Eugene deliberately circumvented using existing safety gear and in effect caused his own injuries.

The last two years have been marked by a huge spike in construction injuries and deaths across New York City as a boom in construction activity seems to have been accompanied by shoddy practices and companies avoiding the use of safe procedures and, in many cases, have been able to evade any consequences.

If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured at a construction site, whether as a visitor, passer-by or worker, then you will need an aggressive and experienced construction site accident lawyer to fight for just compensation on your behalf.

Richard S. Jaffe Esq. of New York and Long Island has had many successful years helping the victims of accidents of all types across the city and will provide a free consultation so that he can offer an opinion about the chances of a claim being successful.

You can contact him at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.

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