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Fence Company Wins Summary Judgment in Construction Case that Left Worker Injured

Case Study

Fence Company Wins Summary Judgment in Construction Case that Left Worker Injured

March 20, 2023
Daniel L. Klein

A long, drawn-out multimillion-dollar lawsuit connected to a 2016 construction accident has been dismissed by a Queens Supreme Court judge, who ruled in favor of a fence company represented by Goldberg Segalla.

The plaintiff in the case sued the business, claiming he suffered a traumatic brain injury in the mishap.

The business was hired by the project’s general contractor to increase the height of the barrier surrounding the perimeter of the job site, as required by the New York City Department of Buildings. The company installed steel fencing atop Yodock Barriers —also referred to as Y-Barriers —which already existed onsite.

Daniel L. Klein, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Civil Litigation and Trial practice group, represented the company. He noted that throughout the course of its work, the business operated under the constant direction of the general contractor, and received almost-daily approval throughout the course of the job straight through to its completion.

Dan also pointed out that the fence company never removed, re-positioned or tended to the Y-barriers, nor was doing so part of its contractual responsibilities — a point to which the company, general contractor and witnesses in the case all testified.

Fourteen months after the fence company finished its job, high winds toppled an insufficiently weighted Y-barrier, resulting in the plaintiff being struck in the head.

However, as Dan noted, at no time since the completion of its work was the fence company ever contacted about issues or defects with the barriers, nor did it ever return to the site once its job was done.

Nonetheless, the company, in good faith, participated in mediation in an effort to reach a reasonable settlement, offering even to contribute a nominal sum to resolve the legal case, which dragged on over seven years. The plaintiff, however, demanded a $20 million award, and settlement talks had not moved forward for more than a year.

Ultimately, Daniel filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted and the case was dismissed in full.