SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury returns verdict for plaintiff in construction accident trial
In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Debra Silber listens as defendant’s attorney James Edwards (standing), of the law firm Ahmuty, Demers & McManus, addresses the jury during opening remarks in the construction accident trial Ayora v. Wong. At issue was the determination of liability.
Brothers Chi-Kit Kenneth Wong and Yan-Kit Michael Wong were owners with their father of the property on which their one-family home was demolished to make way for two new adjoining multi-family homes. During the construction project, there was a 10-by-17-foot hole on the third floor, in preparation for the installation of a staircase. In December 2010 and at the approach of imminent inclement weather, a decision was made to protect drying cement for curing by covering the gaping hole with an opaque plastic. While on the site, construction worker Wilmer Ayora walked onto the plastic, fell through and was injured in the two-story fall. Ayora was represented by Gregory Gastman (at right), of the law offices of Gorayeb & Associates.
At the close of the evidence, Judge Silber dismissed the claimed defense under the one- or two-family homeowner exemption to Labor Law liability. The jury considered the question of whether the owners violated Labor Law 240(1) and deliberated briefly before returning a verdict for the plaintiff. The case was settled before the damages phase for an undisclosed sum, in the trial that concluded this week in Kings County Civil term.
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