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SKETCHES OF COURT: Construction worker gets injured dodging icy rubble

March 25, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Francois Rivera listens as plaintiff’s attorney Michael Barnett (standing) of counsel to the law firm Greenstein & Milbauer PC, makes his opening statement to the jury in the pedestrian premises trial Luis Gurmendi v. Perry Street Development Corp., The J Companies, Pucuda, Inc. DBA Leading Edge Safety Systems and 166 Perry Street LLC. 

In December 2005 the plaintiff, a construction worker, was unloading sheetrock from a flatbed truck in a delivery to a project for 176 Perry St. in Manhattan when he suddenly found himself in a shower of icy rubble and was injured in his jump to escape.

There were inconclusive accounts in testimony as to the nature of the debris, which the plaintiff alleged included construction material (stones and cement) and whose inclusion the defense contested was unsubstantiated in evidentiary documents and photographs, which could place the origin of the shower at a sidewalk tree. The plaintiff claimed the debris rained down from the overhead netting at 166 Perry St., a construction site adjacent to where the truck was parked.

A central issue in the trial was how to ascribe responsibility for the perimeter safety netting among the entities at 166 Perry St.  The Perry Street Development Corp., represented by Phillip Pizzuto (seated, center) of the law firm Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass, had oversight of the condo development taking place at that site. The J Companies, represented by Sheryl Sanford (seated, far right) of the law firm Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry, were hired by Perry Street as the construction manager for the project.

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Pucuda Leading Edge was engaged for the rental of netting that was installed two months before the accident by Exterior Wall and Building Consultants, Inc., a third party defendant represented by Daniel Dietchweiler (seated, far right) of counsel to Pillinger Miller Tarallo. 

The plaintiff suffered injury to his hand, knee and leg, but the jury did not decide on liability before the case was resolved amicably. The parties reached a settlement last week in the trial at Kings County Civil Term. 


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