Settlement for Fall at Rockefeller Center

July 18, 2012

We obtained a $90,000 settlement for a client who fell at Rockefeller Center.

The client slipped on steps at the skating rink.  She sustained a fractured ankle. 

It had just rained, and the granite steps were unduly slippery due to the combination of rain and the treads’ wear over the years.  Our expert opined that this combination made the steps unreasonably slippery as evidenced by his slip resistance meter.

We were able to settle the case despite the fact that the client did not hold onto an available handrail.  Also, she was wearing flip-flops.  Furthermore, Rockefeller Center’s expert opined that the steps were safe.  The stairs met the building code when built in the 1930’s, and that the steps were not unduly slippery based on his own slip resistance readings.

We have had a number of cases at Rockefeller Center including falls in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (behind the statue in the skating rink), a restaurant in the basement, and service driveways.

If you have been injured in an accident at Rockefeller Center, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to



Getting a Recovery for Construction Work Accidents; Falls in Trenches

July 17, 2012

It is unclear whether a worker falling into a trench at a construction site will be afforded the benefits of Labor Law section 240 (1).

Labor Law section 240 (1) imposes strict liability against the owner and general contractor for  falls from  heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, sidewalk bridges, hoists, lifts, elevators, etc.  Since liability is strict and not available under common law, Labor Law 240 (1) is highly beneficial to injured workers.  Often, this statute is the only basis for a lawsuit by the injured worker.  

The courts have been divided as to whether a worker’s fall into a construction trench will be covered by the Labor Law.   See Brian J. Shoot, “Trenchant Divisions Regarding Trenches,” NYLJ (July 17, 2012, p. 4).   

For example, the courts have had to struggle with the following questions:

  • How deep must the trench be to qualify as an “elevation risk?”  Although one appellate court said that 20 feet is an obvious height danger, other courts have had to wrestle with shallower trenches,  as little as 1.5 to 2 feet deep. 
  • Whether the worker fell from a plank while crossing the trench or fell from the side?  One court said that falling from the side is not covered under the Labor Law.
  • Whether the worker fell into the trench or slid down the side?  There is a hint that sliding is not covered.

In a recent court from New York’s highest court, it was ruled that falling into a trench would not be covered by the Labor Law.   See Salazar v. Novalex Contracting, 18 NY3d 134 (2011). 

In this case the worker was spreading freshly poured cement in a basement.  There were several trenches including the one that the worker was attempting to fill.  As he walked backward while using a tool to smooth the concrete, he fell into another trench partially filled with concrete. 

The court held that the Labor Law was inapplicable.  There was no requirement to have a railing or barricade or cover over the trench because filling-in the trench was integral to the injured worker’s job, i.e., pouring and spreading concrete over the entire floor.  This case left unresolved the issue of how deep the trench needs to be in order to fall under the Labor Law.

Therefore, there are many open and unresolved issues around falls in trenches.

We have handled falls in trenches.  If you have been injured in a construction accident, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation. 

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in your case.

We Are on Vacation, and We Are Rebuilding This Blog

July 5, 2012

While we are on vacation we are redesigning our firm blog. 

Please watch for our new format, and enjoy your summer.

Mark E. Seitelman

$210,000 Settlement for Construction Accident at Rego Center Shopping Mall

May 30, 2012

We recently obtained a settlement of $210,000 for our client’s construction accident while working in constructing the Rego Center Shopping Mall in Rego Park (Queens), New York.

The client fell while on the job.  He was carrying various wooden forms, and he claimed to have tripped due his foot getting entangled in a cable left by another contractor.  The client sustained various knee injuries requiring surgery.

Liability turned on Labor Law 241 (6) and whether the client did indeed trip due to a cable or other factors.  This issue and damages were highly contested.

Please note that prior case results do not guarantee a similar result in your case. 

Getting a Recovery for a Car Colliding with a Building

May 29, 2012

A car hitting a building is not that unusual. 

Here are some examples:

  • The vehicle strikes the client’s backyard fence and goes through the fence.  The client falls when trying to avoid the car.  He gets injured.
  • The automobile operator loses control and goes through a storefront of a jewelry store.  The client, a worker in the store, is struck by the car.  Additionally, the store owner sustains his own personal injury and property damage to his store (e.g., damage to the storefront, wrecked display cases, business interruption, etc.).
  • The out of control vehicle strikes a private home and partially goes through a bedroom wall.  The client, the homeowner sleeping in the bedroom, is injured due to the impact although the vehicle does not touch him.

In these cases, the vehicle operator’s negligence will not be an issue.  The outcome will depend upon the nature of the damages and injury.

If you have had this type of accident, please feel free to contact us at 800-581-1434 or

Of course, our prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome in your case.

West Point Cadets Help Clear Jewish Cemetery

May 29, 2012

The Huffington Post reports that Jewish West Point cadets helped clean one of the cemeteries of the Hebrew Free Burial Association as part of a community outreach program of their Hillel group.   See “Jewish Soldiers Perform Selfless Acts of Kindness”.

The cadets worked in the Silver Lake Cemetery in Staten Island, New York. The Silver Lake Cemetery is the oldest cemetery of Hebrew Free Burial, and it is full.  The cemetery has become overgrown and requires periodic clearing and clean-up of dead and fallen trees.  Hebrew Free Burial has another cemetery in Richmond County which is still accepting burials.

Grave Marker of Beckie Reines, a victim of the Triangle Factory Fire.

Hebrew Free Burial provides a free and proper Jewish burial to the forgetten, the poor, the elderly, the homeless, and the sick.  It buried numerous victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.  Their families could not afford a proper burial, and Hebrew Free Burial stepped-in.

We commend the cadets for helping those who cannot say thanks.

Minna S. Monte      Our office manager, Minna Monte Seitelman, is proud to be the treasurer of this fine charity.

Facebook and Other Social Media Are Being Used Against Injured Persons; Beware of What You Post

May 25, 2012

We have written previously that Facebook and other “social media” can be used against an injured plaintiff in his lawsuit. 

We recently received an extensive discovery demand from defense counsel requesting authorizations to obtain the client’s files from:

  • Facebook;
  • MySpace;
  • Twitter; and
  • Linkedin.

The demand in this particular case is amusing because our client, an elderly housewife, does not have a computer! 

However, Facebook and other social media are prevalent in the “under 60 age groups.”  It is very surprising what people post.

Clients should carefully consider that even if a post or picture is circulated amongst only “friends”, defense counsel may end-up getting it even if you think that it is private.  Defense counsel will seek to get pictures of the client engaged in some strenous activity which contradicts the client’s claim of disability.

To paraphrase the old saying, “what you post on Facebook can be used against you.”

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