Jury Awards $12.33 million to Painter Who Fell from Unsecured Scaffolding
While painting a stripe on a wall at the air cargo terminal at the Buffalo International Airport, the plaintiff’s mobile scissor scaffolding collapsed, hurtling plaintiff 20 feet to the ground.

Plaintiff sued the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, which owned the building; the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which owned the property; and Ciminelli Development Company, Inc., the project manager. The plaintiff claimed that all defendants violated Labor Law Section 240(1), based on the failure to provide protection from falling. Plaintiff contended that the scaffolding was unstable; did not properly adjust to the ground’s uneven grade; and that a different, more stable scaffold should have been provided. Plaintiff also alleged that defendants did not provide any safety devices to prevent falling, as required by the statute. The defense claimed that the scaffolding was stable. Prior to trial, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and the case proceeded to trial on damages only. Following a full damages trial, the jury awarded $12.33 million for past and future pain and suffering, lost wages, and past and future medical care.

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