$3 million award to the family of a construction worker killed in New York by a defective scaffold. The victim was an undocumented alien

A $3 million settlement was reached prior to trial in February 2007 for a person killed in a construction accident. The worker was the victim of a fatal construction accident. He was an undocumented alien working in the country for two months prior to his construction accident death caused by a defective scaffold. His family received the $3 million settlement. The family of the construction worker from New York was awarded $3 million as a result of the case presented by New York Personal Injury lawyer Todd D. Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg's client was killed while working on the construction of a Gramercy Park building. Bricks from the building landed on the defective scaffold that collapsed. Discovery revealed that the scaffold was erected without a permit and was never inspected by the City of New York or had an engineer's approval. The subcontractor who erected the scaffolding, the principal of Tri State Scaffold and Equipment Supplies, Inc., pled guilty to manslaughter charges and was subsequently sentenced in Supreme Court, New York County for a minimum of 3 ½ to a maximum of 10 years. The principal admitted he erected a scaffold that could not support the weight put on it and conceded he did not have a licensed engineer inspect the scaffold as law requires. The deceased, Manuel Atanacio Balarezo Sumba, arrived in the US three months prior to his death as an undocumented alien from Ecuador. His wife and three children remained in Ecuador. The deceased was sent to the job site by an agency and worked as a laborer on the defective scaffold. In preparation for the damage aspect of the case, the autopsy report and all copies of photographs taken at the New York City morgue were obtained. Expert services of a pathologist, a forensic psychiatrist and an economist were obtained. The damage aspect of the case concentrated on the seconds it took for the deceased to fall from the 11th floor of the defective scaffolding to the ground and the pre-impact terror the construction accident victim suffered. The forensic psychiatrist said that in the seconds it took for the deceased to fall, he experienced conscious terror and suffering, that he knew he was falling to his death and tried to save himself. Autopsy photos showed scrapes to the decedent's fingers as he tried to grasp the defective scaffold and save himself from wrongful death. The expert economist said the economic loss to the construction accident victim's family was $894,189. Plaintiff's settlement was helped by the Court of Appeals Decision in BalBuena v. Ideal Realty LLC., 6 NY 3rd 338(2006) which held that unauthorized aliens who do not present false work papers may recover lost earnings. Plaintiff's attorney Personal Injury lawyer Todd D. Greenberg was successful in getting the family of the construction accident victim a $3 million settlement for the victim's pain and suffering

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