Powers & Santola, LLP, Reports that Court Finds for Widow of New York Construction Worker Who Fell from Capitol Roof

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Fall from historic roof caused by employer’s failure to comply with historic scaffold law, complaint alleged.

New York lawyer representing injured construction accident workers

Daniel R. Santola

The 125-year-old ‘Scaffold Law’ is intended to protect New York construction workers from being injured by falls from an elevation.

Three years after Chad Scribner fell off the roof of the Capitol Building in Albany, a New York State Court of Claims judge has issued a 20-page decision, finding that, in violation of New York’s “Scaffold Law,” Mr. Scribner was not provided any safety device to prevent him from falling, the law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP, announced today.

The 125-year-old “Scaffold Law” is intended to protect New York construction workers from being injured by falls from an elevation.

According to the decision* issued by the Honorable Frank P. Milano, Mr. Scribner was employed by Titan Roofing, Inc., of Albany. The State of New York had hired Titan to remove and replace the deteriorated 120-year-old terra cotta roof tiles on the Capitol Building.

A 40-year-old roofer from Cohoes, Mr. Scribner’s work involved picking up broken pieces of tiles on the roof and throwing them into a bin located on a scaffolding platform below the edge of the roof, according to court documents. While doing his work, Mr. Scribner fell off the edge of the Capitol Building and landed on the scaffold platform below, the decision states.

According to court documents, Mr. Scribner suffered severe and permanent injuries from the fall that ultimately contributed to his death. Mr. Scribner brought a claim against the State of New York, as the owner of the Capitol Building. The claim was continued by his widow, as the administratrix of his estate, when Mr. Scribner died in July 2013, the decision states.

In the decision, Judge Milano found that three undisputed facts required that the Court find in favor of the injured construction worker:

  • At the time of his accident, Mr. Scribner was required to perform his work on the Capitol Building roof, rather than on the scaffolding platform.
  • When he fell, Mr. Scribner was working at an elevation above the scaffolding platform.
  • Mr. Scribner was not provided any safety device intended to prevent him from falling from the roof edge to the scaffolding platform.

Daniel R. Santola of the Albany law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP, represented Mrs. Scribner.

The author of Litigating Construction Accident Cases in New York and a co-author of Construction Site Personal Injury Litigation, Mr. Santola is widely recognized as a preeminent authority on New York’s unique laws that protect workers in the hazardous construction industry.

“Chad was an experienced roofer who was proud to be working on the historic Capitol roof. He would be home with his family today if Titan had complied with the law and provided the required safety devices to its workers, as the Court found. This is another tragic result of putting corporate profits ahead of worker safety,” Mr. Santola said.

Although the State of New York, as the owner of the property, is legally responsible, all damages will be paid by Titan’s insurance carrier because Titan had the ultimate responsibility to provide its roofers with proper and adequate safety devices, Mr. Santola added.

The Court of Claims will schedule a trial to determine the amount of damages that Mr. Scribner’s wife and twin sons will receive, Mr. Santola said.

About Powers & Santola, LLP

Founded in 1987, the law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP, assists individuals in Albany and Onondaga counties and throughout New York State who have suffered serious, catastrophic injuries due to the carelessness of others. The firm primarily focuses on medical malpractice, delayed cancer diagnosis and construction site accidents. The firm’s main office is located at 39 North Pearl Street, Suite 6, Albany, NY 12207 (local phone 518-465-5995). Please contact the firm to learn more.

  • Scribner v. The State of New York, Claim No. 120372, Motion Nos. M-83156, CM-83273

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