Two years ago, Harry Ramnauh was crushed to death by a glass panel at a Manhattan construction site. He was a security guard at the construction site of the $3 billion Luxury Central Park Tower which when completed will be the tallest residential building in the world. Reaching 112 floors and a height of 1,550 feet, it is also the most expensive development in New York City. Apartments are listed at up to $63 million with a total projected sellout of $4 billion. (see building under construction on the right side of the picture)
Contractor argues that “failure to safeguard the public” doesn’t apply because the victim was a worker
After the death of the security guard, The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) issued several citations to Lendlease, the general contractor for the construction of the residential tower. Lendlease successfully fought most of the violations and recently filed another petition against the DOB and the Office of Administration Trials and Hearings arguing that one of the citations, “failure to safeguard the public during construction”, doesn’t apply to the case because the victim was not a member of the public but a worker at the construction site. Lendlease also argues that the violation was issued based on an inspection that occurred 3 days after the accident and therefore it didn’t reflect the conditions at the time of the fatal construction accident.
A violation not only results in a fine but can also lead to an increase in insurance premiums
It is quite common for contractors to fight back against a violation. The main reason is often not the penalty which in this case is $25,000 but repercussions of the violation on other costs such as worker’s compensation, premiums on insurance or surety bond rates.
Wrongful death lawsuit settled with the family
Recently, the family of Harry Ramnauh also agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit against Lendlease, contractor Pinnacle Industries and Extell for $1.25 million.
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