Legal Claim Filed in Manhattan Crane Collapse That Killed 7

March 26, 2008

The brother of a construction worker killed when a New York crane collapsed has filed notice that he plans to sue the city for $30 million for his brother’s wrongful death.

The notice of claim filing Monday by Christopher Canzona, brother of Clifford Canzona, apparently was the first legal action against the city arising from the March 15 crane collapse in Manhattan.

The accident killed seven people, demolished a four-story brownstone and damaged several other buildings.

Christopher Canzona’s lawyer, Alan B. Leibowitz, also filed a request in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court for an order requiring all materials relevant to the accident be preserved for possible use in his client’s lawsuit.

Clifford Canzona, of Seaford, was helping to erect a 46-story condominium building when the accident occurred, the notice of claim says. Canzona, 45, and co-workers plunged 18 floors.

Canzona, employed by Rapetti Rigging Service, was found dead “on March 18 under rubble and debris crushed by the crane,” the notice of claim says. His was one of the last three bodies found.

The accident was “caused, in part, by the negligence of the city” and its Department of Buildings for failing to inspect the construction site properly and in “ignoring obvious defects” in how the tower was erected, the claim says.

A city construction site inspector was arrested last week after authorities said he falsely claimed he had inspected the crane on March 4. Other city officials have started inspecting every construction crane in use around the city.

The city’s Law Department said it hadn’t been served with the papers as of Monday evening.

“The city recognizes this involves a very tragic situation,” Law Department spokeswoman Kate O’Brien Ahlers said. “We are awaiting the legal papers and will review them thoroughly.”

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