N.Y. Worker Injured in Fall From Platform Gets $2.3 Million

February 16, 2006

A jury awarded $2.3 million to a Staten Island, N.Y. man who fell from a faulty work platform and broke a kneecap and wrist almost nine years ago, his lawyer said.

The Manhattan state Supreme Court jury found this week that Genie Industries, builder of aerial work platforms, was liable and should pay for injuries suffered by Walter Adams, formerly of Staten Island and now of Croydon, Pa., his lawyer said.

Adams was injured July 29, 1997, in the Manhattan warehouse of his employer, Rathe Productions Inc., while working on a waterfall wall that was to be put in the lobby of the Pfizer building on East 42nd Street, said his lawyer, Richard A. Gurfein.

The lawyer said the raised metal platform on which Adams was standing tipped and Adams fell 12 feet to a concrete floor. Adams was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a crushed right kneecap and a fractured right wrist, Gurfein said.

Gurfein argued at trial that Genie Industries knew the model of platform that Adams was using was unstable but, instead of recalling it and losing money, went to work on a new model. The company’s only concern was “the bottom line,” he told the jury.

Philip Tumbarello, lawyer for the defendant, told the jury that the workers at Rathe had misused the platform and caused the accident. He also said Adams was not as badly hurt as he wanted the jury to believe.

Gurfein said the jury found that the platform was defective, that Genie was negligent for putting it on the market and that the platform had caused Adams’ injuries.

The jury awarded Adams $2,266,000 for lost past and future earnings and for past and future pain and suffering, Gurfein said. It also gave Adams $46,000 for past medical bills, he said.

Tumbarello said he would move to set aside the verdict and, if necessary, appeal to a higher court.

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