Weight of Falling Object, Not Just Height Differential, Can Implicate Absolute Liability Under Labor Law

The 39-foot, 1,300-pound rail fell only 12-16 inches onto plaintiff’s right leg. It occurred when the plaintiff and his coworkers were using rail hooks to move the rail on top of another rail at the Steinway subway station in Queens. Upon the callman’s signal, the plaintiff’s coworkers began lifting the rail off the ground, but the plaintiff’s hooks were not in place and he was not ready to begin lifting. This allegedly caused the team to lose control of the rail and resulted in the rail falling. Under this scenario, there is an issue of fact whether Labor Law 240(1) … Read the rest

November 2010 Issue of NYC Vital Signs Devoted to Improving Traffic Safety in New York City

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a data report focused upon traffic death statistics and touting its plans to improve safety in 2010-2011. The data in this report are from the NYC Department of Transportations (DOT) Traffic Fatality Database, the primary source of traffic-related death and injury statistics in New York City.

Key findings included (1) males and people in their 20s make up a disproportionately high number of those killed in motor vehicle accidents compared to their prevalence in the population; (2) traffic fatalities in NYC disproportionately occur on major streets; (3) pedestrian fatalities … Read the rest

Appellate Division Lets Plaintiff Keep $1.2 of $1.75 Million Verdict for 1-2 Hours of Decedents Pain and Suffering

In Dowd vs. New York City Transit Authority, 2010 WL 4678916 (November 16, 2010), the 79-year old decedent was struck by a bus that was backing out of a parking space at the bus terminal located at 165th Street and Merrick Boulevard in Queens. Part of the maneuver needed to exit from the parking space required a bus operator to reverse the bus, encroaching on the sidewalk that ran along Merrick Boulevard, before moving forward to exit on 89th Avenue. Because of a blind spot directly behind the bus, bus operators are advised that they are to ask a … Read the rest

Homeowner/Parents’ Duty to Supervise Departure of Underage Guest Who Became Intoxicated at House Party Extended to Ride Home in Car Driven by Son

Sometimes parents can try to do the right thing but end up liable for someone’s injuries anyway. In Aquino v. Higgins, 891 N.Y.S.2d 853 (4th Dept. 2009), reversed 2010 N.Y. Slip Op. 08386, 2010 WL 4642476 (November 18, 2010), the defendant parents permitted their daughter to host a party at their residence following a high school dinner dance.

Defendant father expressly told his daughter that alcohol would not be permitted to be served. Although defendant parents were home, they were not aware that there was alcohol present at the party until defendant mother entered the basement at the end … Read the rest

Four Loko to Stop Shipping Alcoholic Energy Drinks to New York; FDA May Ban the Drinks Altogether

Controversy has surrounded alcohol energy drinks such as Red Bull for their unhealthy concentration of caffeine. But rather than backing off, the beverage industry has come up with yet more potent and dangerous drinks. One such drink is Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink combining alcohol and caffeine.

To combat the danger, the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) announced that the SLA has reached a voluntary agreement with Four Loko producer Phusion Products to stop shipping alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine and other stimulants to New York State by this Friday, November 19, 2010. Phusion Products has also agreed … Read the rest

Less Daylight Hours Brings Consumer Advisory From NHTSA Cautioning Drivers on Increased Risks to Pedestrians

In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians were killed and 59,000 were injured in traffic crashes. Of those killed, 25 percent died between 4 P.M. and 8 P.M. and another 13 percent between 4 A.M. and 8 A.M. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns drivers that adjusting to the new low-light environment can take time, and that driving while distracted puts everyone and especially pedestrians – at greater risk of death or injury.

With the turning back of the clocks last weekend, the NHTSA cautions motorists and pedestrians to be more attentive to roadway risks and offers specific advice:

Motorists:

Slow … Read the rest

National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week Starts Today

Over the past seven years, 109 children have been injured in elevator and escalator incidents in the City, including one fatal accident in 2008. In an effort to prevent injuries, since 2004, inspectors from the New York City Buildings Departments Elevators Unit have taught thousands of students how to safely ride the Citys 60,000 elevators and 2,200 escalators and what to do in the event of an emergency.

This week, inspectors will be providing critical safety tips to more than 2,300 first, second and third graders in 16 schools throughout the Citys five boroughs. For the first time since the … Read the rest

Crib, Nursery Injuries Up 21% in 2009 versus 2008

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety (CPSC) this week announced that after decreasing from 2007 to 2008, toddlers were injured due to defective cribs and other nursery items rose 21% in 2009. There were 77,300 emergency room visits for products geared to young children in 2009 – in 2008, that figure was 63,700. 2009 saw the most nursery product recalls in history.

The CPSC report also stated that nursery products and clothing surpassed toys with the most recalls, representing 28 and 27 percent of children’s product recalls, respectively; products were recalled mainly due to entrapment, fall, and choking hazards. Children’s clothing … Read the rest