In this case, a worker at the World Trade Center was seriously injured when he fell while attempting to remove some leftover concrete in an elevator bank. Here, the worker was using a very large and heavy pry bar. As he was trying to chip out the concrete with the pry bar, a supervisor affiliated with the Port Authority began yelling at the worker to the point of distraction. The worker, now distracted, tripped, fell and was hurt. During the litigation, we were able to find multiple witnesses who testified that this particular supervisor was notorious at the project for being rude, aggressive and downright distracting. We retained a nationally known expert in construction safety who helped us argue in Court that the number one danger at a worksite is worker distraction and that by distracting the worker in this case – with his screaming and yelling – the supervisor was solely responsible for the accident. In response, the defendants argued that there has never been a case where a worker won a lawsuit for merely being distracted by words. As the parties prepared for trial, the case settled for $350,000. So, now, there is at least one case in New York where a worker won based his claim that words hurt him. But the truth is, the supervisor acted completely irresponsibly and in direct contravention of all safety rules now generally employed at construction sites. And, really, in this day and age, what worker needs to risk his life going to work every day with a supervisor like that?
Stolzenberg Cortelli LLP