Manhattan Construction Accident Death Leads to Criminal Charges Against Two Site Managers
Construction-related deaths often result in civil wrongful death lawsuits. In extreme cases, construction managers and the companies that employ the managers can be charged with manslaughter and other related criminal charges. A recent case illustrates worksite conditions and conduct that can lead to criminal charges
Manhattan, New York prosecutors recently charged two construction managers for the death of a worker at a building site in Lower Manhattan. The worker died in the meat-packing district when the walls of a site collapsed caused thousands of pounds of dirt to land on him. The prosecutors asserted that the managers and companies ignored prior repeated warnings to correct the dangerous conditions that were given by private inspectors.
Violations of Building Regulations
Construction work is governed by federal, state and local regulations that dictate how construction sites should be managed. In this particular case, the excavations were up to 14 feet without the proper foundation when the regulations dictated that the excavations be only five feet.
On the date the worker died, a separate private inspector notified both of the construction managers that there was a seven-foot deep trench. Complicating matters was that the workers spoke mainly Spanish. When one of the two managers finally noticed that the excavation pit had reached 13 feet, his warning to the workers in the pit was in English, not Spanish. This communication failure was a factor in the death of the worker.
Two weeks prior to the death of the worker, the Building Department for Lower Manhattan had issued an order that any project-site used by one of the companies involved should cease because Harco had been charged with numerous safety violations.
The criminal charges in this case include second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and a charge of reckless endangerment. Part of the complaint against the construction companies was that they cut costs at the expense of their workers. Another complaint was that the project was behind schedule causing the workers to rush which jeopardized their safety.
Criminal Defense Arguments
The defendants appeared in the Manhattan State Supreme Court where they pled not guilty to all the charges. The lawyers, on behalf of the clients, mourned the loss of the worker’s life, but claimed that their clients were not criminally responsible. One lawyer added that his client was innocent and that his client would not settle or plea-bargain.
Criminal responsibility in construction cases can be hard to prove. An experienced criminal defense lawyer such as Camden Count criminal lawyer, Jill R. Cohen, has experience in defending clients who are charged with crimes that should really be heard in a civil court and not in a criminal court.
Camden County Criminal Lawyer, Jill R. Cohen, Represents Clients Charged with Construction Manslaughter
Camden County criminal lawyer, Jill R. Cohen, is a fierce advocate for clients who have been charged with serious crimes including construction manslaughter. Based in Westmont, New Jersey, Jill R. Cohen defends people in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Attorney Cohen knows construction and building regulations and the appropriate defenses to construction related criminal charges. Call for a free consultation or contact her online.