Representative Cases for Construction Litigation and Counseling
We represent owners, developers, general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, engineers, architects and other design professionals involving a wide variety of trades in connection with serious property damage and personal injury claims. These include:
- construction accidents, including New York Labor Law violations and other personal injury claims
- construction defects
- design defects
- delay and loss of productivity claims.
We are experienced at identifying and making appropriate judgments about joining all implicated parties, and at effectively pursuing contractual indemnity and additional insured claims that invariably arise in construction litigation. Our goal is to look for opportunities to achieve an early, efficient settlement of our clients' disputes, often through alternative dispute resolution, sparing the client the substantial expense and disruption typical of construction litigation.
When early resolution cannot be achieved, our experienced attorneys are fully prepared to aggressively litigate complex, highly technical claims to a favorable conclusion in the federal and state trial and appellate courts. The firm has, for example, successfully litigated construction injury cases arising from an alleged runaway crane, a collapsing elevator cab, a roof collapse, a trench collapse and falls from scaffolding. These cases often involve death or serious injuries, including blindness, amputation and severe spinal impairment.
As described more fully on our Insurance and Reinsurance Coverage Practice page, we also have a broad insurance coverage practice, which advises clients and, where necessary, handles coverage litigation arising from claims of:
- construction/design defect
- project site accidents
- contractors’ indemnification and insurance obligations.
Vega v MTA (Sup. Ct. New York County) (construction worker’s finger tip was struck by a piece of falling concrete and partially amputated; after it was re-attached in the hospital, plaintiff had two more surgeries, a fusion of the finger and removal of the hardware; he claimed that he developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, has allodynia from the tips of all five fingers up to his shoulder, and has no use of his left upper extremity, as well as a full and permanent disability as a result of psychiatric issues; plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury to return a verdict of approximately $33 million for his client’s Labor Law claims; jury returned a net verdict of approximately $725,000, substantially less than LCBF’s client had offered to settle)
Schofield v. Avante Contractive Corp. (Supreme Court, Westchester County) (granting general contractor summary judgment dismissing Labor Law §§ 240(1), 241(6), and 200 claims of plaintiff, who fell from an unsecured ladder, on ground that plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of the accident because he did not remove or request the removal of Sheetrock on the floor that served as an obstruction)
Port Imperial Condominium Ass’n, Inc. v. K. Hovnanian Port Imperial Urban Renewal, Inc., No. HUD-L-2094-08 (N.J. Law Div. 2012) (case of first impression involving application of statute of repose in a condominium construction defect case to a subcontractor who performed work on multiple buildings in a condominium complex)
Bianca Jagger v. Katz Park Avenue Corp., 33 Misc.3d 139(A) (App. Term, 1st Dept. 2011) (reversing trial court and dismissing bodily injury in excess of $20 million allegedly sustained by ex-wife of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger as a consequence of water damage and resultant mold growth in her rent-stabilized Park Avenue apartment)
Clemente v. New Jersey Transit, No. ESX-L-8977-08 (N.J. Law Div. 2011) (dismissing contractual indemnity claim brought by property owner against our client, the general contractor, in a case filed by estate of construction laborer who suffered fatal electrical burns)
Petada v. MTA et al., No. 102908/10 (Sup Ct. N.Y. Co. 2011) (granting defendants summary judgment and dismissing plaintiff's Labor Law 200 and 241(6) claims on the grounds that defendants did not supervise plaintiff's work and that plaintiff's alleged industrial code violations did not apply)
Minorczyk v. Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, 74 A.D.3d 675 (App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2010) (reversing trial court’s post-trial ruling setting aside the jury’s funding of liability against client’s co-defendant, the construction manager of the project where plaintiff was injured)
Kerusa Co., LLC v. W10Z/515 Real Estate Ltd., 12 N.Y.3d 236 (2009) (reversing intermediate appellate court opinion and dismissing common law fraud claim against luxury condominium building sponsor in light of New York Attorney General’s comprehensive disclosure regulations applicable to condominium apartment sales)
Archstone v. Tocci Building Corporation of New Jersey, No. 01018/08 (N.Y Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. 2009) (denying plaintiffs' claims that forensic architect’s reports were privileged, noting that plaintiffs submitted sworn testimony that “smacks of revisionist history” in case against developer/owner of a residential community, including 20 residential buildings, where plaintiffs seek over $70 million)
Kerusa Co. LLC v W10Z/515 Real Estate Ltd. Partnership, 50 A.D.3d 503 (App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2008) (holding in client’s favor that (1) unit owners in a condominium can only sue for damages to their own unit and not for damages to common elements and (2) air sampling on a single day is insufficient to establish mold growth in a condominium unit)
Estate of Niepokoj v. Hasenbein et al., No. 15916/04 (Sup. Ct. Queens Co. 2006) (granting defendants summary judgment and dismissing plaintiff's Labor Law 200, 240(1) and 241(6) claims on the grounds that defendants were not the general contractors of the worksite and did not have the authority to control or supervise plaintiff's decedent's work)
Egan v. Monadnock Construction, 43 A.D.3d 692 (App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2007), leave to appeal denied 10 N.Y. 3d 706 (2008) (affirming Bronx trial court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing the Labor Law claims against client, a general contractor, for severe orthopedic injuries that required six surgeries)
Fredrick J. Gavitt, et al v. Citnalta Construction Corp., No.120689/03 (Sup.Ct. N.Y.Co. 2003) (defense verdict in case where construction worker’s eye was struck by rivet, causing loss a substantial portion of his eye and requiring several surgeries, and plaintiff’s counsel asked jury to award $8,225,000 in damages)
St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. Universal Builders Supply, 409 F.3d 73 (2d Cir. 2005) (affirming dismissal of our motion to dismiss both $20 million subrogation claim against contractor and third-party coverage claims against client umbrella wrap-up insurer arising from much publicized scaffold collapse at Four Times Square)
Pirrotta v EKLECCO, 292 A.D.2d 362 (App. Div. 2d Dep't 2002) (affirming trial court decision holding that the contractor was not liable because plaintiff, who was inured when he was pulled out of chest-deep mud while building a shopping center, was a “special employee” and this was not the type of elevation-related hazard contemplated by Labor Law 240)