Senior Associate Joseph Cianflone Prevails on Summary Judgment Motion in High Exposure Electrocution Case

In Rubino v. 330 Madison Company, LLC et al. (New York County Index No. 110134/2011), Judge Cynthia S. Kern granted summary judgment in favor of our client, Michael Mazzeo Electric Corp. (“Mazzeo”), an electrician shop that installed wiring as part of a major renovation of a Manhattan building. Plaintiff alleged first degree burns to his head and right arm; a traumatic brain injury, with resultant cognitive deficits and emotional and psychological trauma; a herniated cervical disc, requiring a one-level discectomy and fusion; and inability to return to work, as a result of suffering an electric shock from a live wire hanging from a demolished ceiling. 

Mazzeo contracted with general contractor, Tishman Construction Corporation, to run electrical wires throughout the building to power future window washing equipment on various roof setbacks. Mazzeo performed this work nearly two years before plaintiff’s accident took place. It was alleged that Mazzeo left a particular wire unprotected and concealed within the drop ceiling of the 18th floor of the building. This wire was connected to an electrical panel on the 16th floor of the building. Several weeks before plaintiff’s accident, Waldorf Demolition (“Waldorf’s), demolished the entire 18th floor, exposing the wire. The record established that despite the owner, managing agent, and general contractor having knowledge that this particular wire was powered by a panel on a different floor, they never informed their electrical shut off contractor to de-energize the 16th floor panel prior to the demolition. Plaintiff later came into contact with the wire while putting on a safety harness. 

Although it was undisputed that Mazzeo installed the subject wire that shocked the plaintiff, our firm prevailed on summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s negligence, and Labor Law Sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6) claims; the owner’s and general contractor’s third-party claims over for contractual indemnification and contribution; and Waldorf’s cross claims for negligence. We established by expert affidavit and deposition testimony that Mazzeo had, in fact, safed off the subject wire, and that the subsequent demolition of the 18th floor destroyed whatever protection was placed on the end of the wire. Although the parties attempted to argue that Mazzeo failed to safe off the wire at all, or at the very least, failed to adequately do so, Mazzeo countered that there was no evidence presented establishing these facts. The claims against Mazzeo were based purely on speculation and conjecture.   

Judge Kern agreed and granted Mazzeo’s motion. Plaintiff and his wife, being represented by Sacks & Sacks L.L.P., had previously made a $10,000,000 settlement demand.