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Job site's staircase collapsed beneath plumber's feet

Amount:

$1,500,500

Type:

Settlement

State:

New York

Venue:

Suffolk County

Court:

Suffolk Supreme

Injury Type(s):

neck-cervical disc injury; elbow; other-osteophyte; other-osteoarthritis; other-physical therapy; wrist-carpal tunnel syndrome; neurological-nerve damage/neuropathy (nerve damage, ulnar nerve); surgeries/treatment-discectomy; surgeries/treatment-knee surgery (knee replacement)

Case Type:

Construction - Labor Law; Workplace - Workplace Safety; Slips, Trips & Falls - Falldown; Worker/Workplace Negligence - Negligent Assembly or Installation

Case Name:

Anthony Marfoglio and Eileen Marfoglio v. Meadowcrest Homes @ Greenville LLC., Meadowcrest Distinctive Homes, Robert Strecker, Robert F. Strecker and Sunrise to Sunset Construction Corp., No. 17226/08

Date:

October 25, 2016

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Anthony Marfoglio (Male, 58 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Allen J. Rosner; trial counsel, Edelman, Krasin & Jaye PLLC; Westbury, NY, for Anthony Marfoglio

Defendant(s):

Robert Strecker, 

Robert F. Strecker, 

Meadowcrest Distinctive Homes, 

Meadowcrest Homes @ Greenville, LLC, 

Sunrise to Sunset Construction Corp.

Defense Attorney(s):

James A. Schondebare; Schondebare & Korcz; Ronkonkoma, NY, for Robert Strecker, Robert F. Strecker ■ None reported; for Meadowcrest Distinctive Homes, Meadowcrest Homes @ Greenville, LLC ■ Joseph C. Tonetti; Joseph C. Tonetti, PC; Smithtown, NY, for Sunrise to Sunset Construction Corp.

Insurer(s):

Allstate Insurance Co. for Robert Strecker and Robert F. Strecker; Farm Family Casualty Insurance Co. for Sunrise to Sunset Construction

Facts:

On Feb. 26, 2008, plaintiff Anthony Marfoglio, 58, a plumber, worked at a construction site that was located at 2 Willow Lane, in East Quogue. Marfoglio was installing plumbing in the basement of an unfinished house. While Marfoglio was descending the basement's stairs, the staircase collapsed beneath his feet. He fell to the bottom of the stairs, and he claimed that he sustained injuries of an elbow, a knee, his neck and a wrist. Marfoglio sued the construction project's general contractor, Sunrise to Sunset Construction Corp., and the premises' owners, Robert Strecker, Robert F. Strecker, Meadowcrest Distinctive Homes, and Meadowcrest Homes @ Greenville, LLC. Marfoglio alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law. Marfoglio claimed that the staircase, which was a prefabricated structure, had not been adequately secured. Marfoglio's counsel contended that the defendants failed to provide or ensure reasonable and adequate protection, as required by Labor Law § 241(6). Each defendant denied having installed the staircase. Sunrise to Sunset Construction's co-owners claimed that they had told the Streckers that the staircase could not be installed until the basement's walls and concrete floor had been installed. That work had not been completed at the time of the accident. The Streckers claimed that they did not control or direct Marfoglio's work functions.

Injury:

Marfoglio presented to St. Charles Hospital, in the village of Port Jefferson. He underwent minor treatment. Marfoglio ultimately claimed that he sustained injuries of his right knee, his spine's cervical region and his left, nondominant arm's wrist. He also claimed that he sustained damage of his left elbow's ulnar nerve. He claimed that his left wrist developed residual carpal tunnel syndrome, that his right knee developed residual osteoarthritis, and that his C5-6 intervertebral disc developed residual osteophytes: bone spurs. Marfoglio immediately commenced a course of physical therapy. The treatment lasted about eight weeks. On Feb. 10, 2009, he underwent surgical release of his left arm's median and ulnar nerves. On Dec. 28, 2009, he underwent replacement of his right knee. On March 23, 2015, he underwent a discectomy, which involved excision of the anterior portion of his C5-6 disc. The latter procedure was followed by about six weeks of physical therapy. Marfoglio claimed that he suffers residual pain and limitations that prevent his resumption of manual labor. He sought recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering. His wife presented a derivative claim, but her claim was ultimately discontinued. Defense counsel contended that Mr. Marfoglio's right knee's injury predated the accident, that the knee-replacement surgery had been recommended prior to the accident, that the discectomy was not related to the accident, given that it was performed some seven years after the accident, and that the remaining injuries were degenerative conditions caused by years of manual labor.

Result:

The parties negotiated pretrial settlements. The Streckers' insurer agreed to pay $750,000, from a policy that provided $1 million of coverage; Sunrise to Sunset Construction's insurer agreed to pay $750,000, from a policy that provided $1 million of coverage; and Meadowcrest Distinctive Homes and Meadowcrest Homes @ Greenville, which were not insured, agreed to pay a total of $500. Thus, the settlements totaled $1,500,500.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs' counsel and Sunrise to Sunset Construction's counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents. Counsel of Robert Strecker and Robert F. Strecker did not respond to the reporter's phone calls, and the remaining defendants' counsel was not asked to contribute.