Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.
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Justice Served: Construction Company Owner Convicted in Tragic Death of 5-Year-Old Girl in Brooklyn

Brooklyn DA OfficeAs personal injury attorneys representing victims in Brooklyn, we have witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of negligence in the construction industry. The recent conviction of a Nassau County construction company owner for criminally negligent homicide in the death of a young girl serves as a reminder of the critical importance of adhering to building codes and safety protocols.

On August 29, 2019, a tragic event unfolded in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when 5-year-old Alysson Pinto-Chaumana lost her life due to the collapse of a poorly constructed stone wall. Alysson, along with her mother and friends, was visiting a residence at 444 Harman Street. While waiting on the enclosed patio, the stone pillars and horizontal plates of the wall suddenly fell, crushing Alysson and causing her untimely death.

An in-depth investigation revealed that Nadeem Anwar, the owner of City Wide Construction and Renovations, Inc., had constructed the wall in violation of numerous provisions of the New York City Building Code.

Despite being a licensed contractor in Nassau County, Anwar was not authorized to file for work permits with the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) and had another contractor file the application for façade work. Crucially, no permit was obtained for building the stone wall.

The investigation uncovered several critical violations:

  • Lack of Permits: Anwar failed to obtain the necessary DOB permit to construct the wall.
  • No Post-Construction Analysis: There was no licensed engineer or architect analysis of the wall’s stability post-construction.
  • Absence of Reinforcements: The wall lacked the required steel reinforcing bars and engineer-grade adhesive, making it highly unstable and perilous.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun found Anwar guilty of criminally negligent homicide, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and second-degree falsifying business records. Anwar’s sentencing is scheduled for August 14, 2024.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez emphasized the preventable nature of Alysson’s death and underscored the severe consequences of ignoring safety protocols. This conviction sends a powerful message that contractors who cut corners and endanger lives will face serious repercussions.

Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber of the New York City Department of Investigation and Commissioner James Oddo of the NYC Department of Buildings played pivotal roles in this case. Their commitment to enforcing building codes and holding violators accountable was instrumental in securing this conviction.

Commissioner Strauber highlighted the fatal outcomes of flouting building codes, while Commissioner Oddo pointed out the preventable nature of such tragedies. The Department of Buildings has since intensified outreach efforts to educate homeowners and industry professionals about the dangers of substandard construction practices.

As personal injury attorneys, this case resonates deeply with us. It is a sobering reminder of the devastating consequences that can arise from negligence and the importance of upholding safety standards. The conviction of Nadeem Anwar is a significant step towards ensuring accountability in the construction industry and preventing future tragedies.

If you or a loved one has been affected by construction-related negligence, it is crucial to seek legal guidance to navigate the complexities of such cases. Justice for victims and their families begins with holding responsible parties accountable for their actions.