A disregard for safety in some workplaces can cost lives and cause injuries, as was the case with Juan Cuevas, a father of three who was killed when a scaffold suspended from a high rise office building fell to the ground. Mr. Cuevas’ brother-in-law, Jose Jimenez, was severely injured in the same incident. Firm Partner Benny Agosto, Jr. represented Mr. Jimenez and the family of Mr. Cuevas in the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against Burton Construction Company, MEI-McCrory, Inc., and LMN Safety Solutions, Inc. d/b/a Safety By Design. A confidential settlement was recently reached which will provide the victims with financial support.
Mr. Cuevas and Mr. Jimenez were employed by Momentum Exterior Services, Inc. on October 5, 2015, the day of the incident. They were installing window frames in a high-rise office tower which was under construction at the Kirby Grove project on Richmond Avenue when the plates holding the davits which suspended the scaffold (called a “stage”) in the air failed. Burton Construction was the general contractor, MEI-McCrory designed, fabricated, and installed the plates, and Safety By Design provided safety monitoring at the jobsite. Evidence was discovered that the method of the installation of the base plates differed from the design.
When the base plates failed, the davits holding the stage fell to the ground, as did the stage itself. Mr. Jimenez remained suspended in the air by his lifeline, but Mr. Cuevas fell about nine stories to the ground when his lifeline was broken by the falling stage. Mr. Cuevas was in a coma for about eight months after the incident but did not survive.
According to the lawsuit, the entire incident was preventable, had the companies involved assured that the installation of the plates was done properly. However, as a result of the tragedy, Mr. Cuevas’ wife and three sons are left without a husband and father.