Two contractors were convicted earlier this month for a construction accident in Staten Island 3 years ago in which a foreman was crushed to death by a cinderblock wall. On Feb. 12, 2009, a strong gust of wind toppled a 100-foot-long, 60-foot-tall facade of a commercial office building, crushing Robert McGee, 59, a construction foreman from Bohemia, L.I. At the time, McGee was kneeling on the second-story floor; he was on site to frame the adjoining walls. The convictions over this work-related accident in New York City are expected to aid McGee’s family, which has a wrongful death lawsuit pending in state Supreme Court.
This tragic wrongful death case could easily have been avoided. The city Buildings Department had issued a dangerous wind advisory that day, and an associate had called McGee shortly before the wall collapsed, urging him to leave for his own safety, prosecutors said. Additionally, numerous construction workers and neighbors described the wall as a tragedy waiting to happen. Workers had seen the wall swaying in the wind in the days leading up to the accident, according to prosecutors. “It was just a matter of time before that wall went down,” said laborer Terry Lany, noting that it appeared to be braced improperly. Prosecutors said the wall was built too long, too tall and without the proper reinforcement or inspection.
The two companies involved, Woodrow Builders LLC and Well Built Development Corp., didn’t follow inspection guidelines or labor laws when they constructed the wall, according to prosecutors. The Buildings Department said Woodrow breached regulations by failing to have an inspector on site to ensure the wall was built properly. In a case of labor law violations like this where an accident is directly caused by negligence, our New York City construction accident lawyers can help accident victims recover large personal injury and wrongful death settlements.