The family of a New York City construction worker killed in a construction accident that may have been the result of labor law violations has hired a New York City lawyer after identifying his battered body on Saturday. “The family wants accountability, they want answers, and they want it done publicly,” said the family’s attorney. Juan Ruiz, a 69-year-old construction worker, died Thursday when the Columbia University-owned warehouse on 131st Street he was working on collapsed, and a wrongful death lawsuit is very likely to follow. Columbia is in the midst of building a $6.4 billion new campus in the Manhattanville neighborhood of New York City.
Ruiz is not the first construction worker to be killed in the ongoing Manhattanville project; another construction worker suffered a heart attack and fell into an open elevator shaft in February 2010. The Daily News reported that Columbia has racked up 59 code violations and was forced to halt construction 13 times since its project began two years ago. Both deaths occurred under the watch of Breeze National, the construction company that Columbia has contracted to do much of the work in Manhattanville. The City of New York no longer conducts business with the firm and it has been the subject of numerous violations from the Department of Buildings.
The two other workers who suffered personal injuries in the collapse — King Range, 60, and Sakim Kirby, 30 — remained in stable condition Saturday at St. Luke’s Hospital. Kirby’s dad, Curtis Kirby, said that, “It’s a long process, and my major concern is my son’s health. Once that’s done, decisions will be made. But we’re not concentrating on anything else — my primary focus is his health at this time.” In cases such as these, construction workers in New York City should be quick to contact our offices and avail themselves of our services, because our personal injury attorneys specialize in winning large settlements in personal injury and wrongful death cases.