Investigation into Workers Death Leads to Indictment of Subcontractor

The April 6, 2015 death of a construction worker at a Ninth Avenue New York City construction site has initiated an investigation into the owner of Sky Materials Corporation, an excavating subcontracting company.  After an extensive investigation, owner Michael Cholowsky was indicted for concealing payroll information and submitting false documents regarding the number of employees he hired.  The charges are first degree workers’ compensation fraud, and filing false statements, along with other criminal charges stemming from the construction accident.

During the April 2013 to April 2014 time period, Mr. Cholowsky allegedly falsely reported to the New York State Insurance Fund … Read the rest

Exploding Cell Phones

In this day and age, cell phones have become indispensable for most people.  With any device which has batteries and a charging apparatus, there are product defects that can possibly cause personal injury.  There have been cases of cell phones exploding while charging, shocking users, and most recently, causing second-degree burns.

Many cases have involved a defective battery.  A college student at the University of Guelph in Canada was sleeping when her smartphone exploded, catching fire.  Her phone was not charging at the time, and the cell phone company claims the battery was not the genuine one sold with … Read the rest

Will New York City Try to Claim Limitation of Liability on Yesterday’s Staten Island Ferry Crash?

On October 15, 2003, the Staten Island Ferry vessel Andrew J. Barberi missed its dock and hit a maintenance pier at full speed. Eleven people were killed and 71 injured, some critically. Yesterday, the same ferry lost some of its engine ability to slow and stop and slammed into a pier. Nearly 40 people of the 252 people on board were taken to hospitals. People were treated for injuries including cuts, bruises, broken bones and head trauma.

After the first crash, which resulted when the ship’s pilot became incapacitated and no other crew member was in a position to help, … Read the rest

New LIRR Public Awareness Campaign Aimed At Golf Fans Headed to U.S. Open

The U.S. Open golf tournament is scheduled to be played on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on June 15-21, 2009. The LIRR is posting ads at stations and in newspapers, making extra announcements and distributing fliers telling riders to watch the gap between train doors and the station platform. Although New Yorkers can hear the announcements to watch the gap in their sleep, the LIRR is concerned that the many out-of-towners who come to attend the golf tournament will not be aware of the problem.

Newsday has reported that an investigation by the newspaper found that there were … Read the rest

Bill Seeks to Improve Safety By Requiring Safety Device on New York City Housing Authority Elevators

Identical bills have been introduced in the New York State Senate (S04603) and Assembly (A8154) that would require the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to place door or zone restrictors on its nearly 3,340 elevators. The devices prevent people trapped inside stalled housing elevators from opening the cab doors by locking the cab door when an elevator is not aligned with a floor landing. The devices operate even when an elevator loses power because they do not rely on electricity.

The bills come on the heels of a class action lawsuit filed in the United States Court for the … Read the rest

Enough is Enough: Federal Suit Demands New York City Housing Authority Fix Its Elevators

A lawsuit was filed in the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York on April 21, 2009 to force the New York City Housing Authority to repair and maintain its more than 3,300 elevators. The lawsuit cites numerous occasions when NYCHA buildings are completely without elevator service. The lawsuit also describes instances when these buildings have only one working elevator, leaving residents waiting in long lines to use the functioning car. Other frequent malfunctions cited include elevator doors without sensors, elevators which fail to stop at particular floors, or which stop above or below floor level, making … Read the rest

Tragic Day Care Toddler Death Highlights Childrens Food-Related Choking Hazards

In 2000, 160 children age 14 and younger died from obstruction – 41 percent caused by food items and 59 percent by nonfood items. In part due to concerns about children choking, New York State regulation (18 NYCRR 418-1.5) requires handbags, backpacks or briefcases belonging to adults; plastic bags; and toys and objects small enough for children to swallow must be used and stored in such a manner that they are not accessible to children, especially in day care centers.

Unfortunately, an apparent violation of this regulation by an unlicensed day care center for toddlers turned tragic on March 17, … Read the rest

Fatal Fire Brings to Light Deficiencies in Fire Hydrant Inspection Requirements

On February 2, 2009, Amy Yeung perished in an apartment fire in Selden, New York. Firefighters reported that a lack of water pressure in the fire hydrant in her private community, Village in the Woods, made it more difficult to put out the blaze, and forced them to call for two water tankers from neighboring fire departments. This tragedy exposed a deficiency in the inspections of fire hydrants in private communities.

Neither Suffolk County nor the Town of Brookhaven regularly inspects private water systems to ensure that they have sufficient water pressure to fight fires. State fire code mandates annual … Read the rest

“Key in the Ignition Statute” Will Hold Vehicle Owner Liable for Deaths of Pedestrians Struck by Drunk Driver Who Had Stolen the Vehicle

When Joe Guerrero left his keys in the ignition of his car with the engine running while he went into a deli last weekend, a drunken man stole his vehicle and then ran down 2 pedestrians. Even though Mr. Guerrero was not driving or occupying the vehicle and had not given the drunk driver, a stranger to him, permission to drive his vehicle, he will be liable to the families of the 2 pedestrians for causing their deaths. This is true because of Vehicle and Traffic Law 1210(a), sometimes called the “key in the ignition statute.” This statute makes the … Read the rest

Add Laser Beams to List of Potential Injury Hazards at Concerts

People go to hear live music for a good time, but it’s not unheard of for disaster in the form of personal injury or death to strike. For example, on February 20 2003, fire erupted at a Great White concert killing 100 and injuring 180. The concert fire started when a spark from the band’s pyrotechnic gerbs display ignited the soundproofing foam insulation lining the walls of the club as Great White began their set.

On march 25, 1990, an arsonist started a fire at an unlicensed social club in the Bronx, New York, called “Happy Land”, that killed 87 … Read the rest