(Settlement of $800,000)

New Jersey Law Journal
$800,000 for WorkSite Accident
Schwartz v. Dick Corp. and CL&B Associates:

A subcontractor agreed to pay $800,000 to a Chatham carpenter who alleged that a lack of safety gear caused a crippling fall.

According to the suit, the accident occurred while Vincent Schwartz was part of a work-force building a bank in Madison. He and several other carpenters were ordered to sheath a wet pitched roof, even though no safety harnesses or life-lines were available. As he was climbing onto the roof, he slipped and fell 20 feet to the ground. He suffered two vertebrae compression fractures, a broken arm and a dislocated elbow, and has been out of work since.

Subcontractor CL&B Associates, insured by Selective Insurance Group of Branchville, agreed to the settlement during jury selection before Judge Donald Goldman in Essex County. The site’s general contractor, Dick Corp. of Pittsburgh, was indemnified.

The main issue was CL&B’s contention that safety equipment was in transit and arrived about two hours after the fall. Schwartz’s lawyer, Union solo Martin Kronberg, says Schwartz was trying to make the site safer. Kronberg adds that the defense argued that, as a shop steward in charge of safety, Schwartz should have waited to go on the roof because there was other work to do.

CL&B’s lawyer, Michael Dougherty of Passman, Dougherty & Zirulnik in East Hanover, did not return calls.

By John Covaleski