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SKETCHES OF COURT: Worker awarded $4.9M after Barclays Center construction accident

July 23, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Loren Baily-Schiffman listens as defendant’s attorney Bruin Hays III (standing), of the law firm Dopf,  P.C., conducts a cross-examination of an expert witness during the labor law trial Michael Melville v. Brooklyn Arena, LLC, New York State Urban Development Corp. d/b/a Empire State Development Corp., and Hunt Construction Group, Inc. 

In October 2011 the plaintiff, a 53-year-old union ironworker at the construction site for the Barclays Center, was struck in the head by a “come-along,” a type of hoist, as it fell from 12 feet above. The 40-pound device, which is used in the construction industry to pull loads up to 3 tons, broke Melville’s hard hat when it fell. He was rendered briefly unconscious and was removed from the site via ambulance to a hospital. 

The plaintiff, represented by James J. McCrorie and Kevin G. Lillis (seated at left) of the law firm Sacks and Sacks, alleged that the defendants violated Section 240(1) of the New York state Labor Law in that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard. The defendants conceded liability during the trial. 

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In the damages-only proceedings, the plaintiff claimed injuries that prevent his resumption of work and limit his activities and which require further treatment. The defendants claim that Melville’s limitations were pre-existing and sustained in a 1996 accident, for which he was compensated in a 2003 trial. 

The trial concluded last week in Kings County Civil Term. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $4.9 million in compensation for past and future pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost earnings. 


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