Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: Plaintiff receives settlement in labor law trial

October 8, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo

In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Francois Rivera listens as plaintiff’s attorney Christopher Lanigan (standing) questions a witness in the premises liability/labor law trial Camporeale v. City of New York [et al]. Lanigan is an associate in the law firm Constantinidis & Associates, and is standing to the left of the firm’s named partner Gus Constantinidis. 

At issue in the bifurcated trial was the determination of liability. Anthony Camporeale, an electrician at work in April 2010, was using both arms to hold the front end of a heavy conduit pipe while descending a recently built stairwell with a co-worker. The site, then under construction, was the free-transfer connection between the Jay Street/IND and Lawrence Street/BMT subway stations. 

The plaintiff asserts that he fell after stepping from about the third tread, when the depth of the next step differed considerably. He claims that a hazard was created when only some of the thick wood forms from around the poured-cement stairs had been removed. He maintains that he reached for a handrail, which had not yet been installed, when he tried unsuccessfully to steady himself, and is claiming severe knee and back injuries. Lanigan claims that the city, the MTA and their general contractor were in violation of New York Labor Law § 241(6). 

The defendant, represented by Mathew Ross (seated, second from right) of the law firm Wilson Elser, challenged that any wood forms had been removed at the time of the accident. He sought to impugn the plaintiff’s credibility regarding the condition of the stairs when he cited inconsistencies with a deposition made a year after the accident. Alexander Gizzo, of counsel, is at Ross’ right.

Aside from general references to injuries in the liability phase of the trial, the jury was not exposed to testimony around damages nor was asked to deliberate. The parties came to a multi-million dollar amicable settlement before summations in the trial that ended this week in Kings County Civil Term. 

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