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Man Attacked by Power Saws Wins Lawsuit

A subway rider that was seriously injured by a mentally disturbed man who snatched power saws from a contractor's tool cart won a lawsuit against the company that left them unguarded.

A Manhattan Supreme Court jury found Five Star Electric Corp. negligent for not safeguarding its tools - and therefore setting the stage for the attack on an off duty postal clerk, Michael Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs and other serious, life changing injuries in the 2007 assault at the 110th St./Broadway station.

The jury attributed 75% of the blame on Five Star, of Queens, and just 25% on Tareyton Williams, who pleaded guilty to the crime in a criminal court and is serving an 18-year sentence in state prison.

After the liability verdict, Five Star and the victim’s lawyer agreed to negotiate a confidential settlement. During the trial, Five Star argued it shouldn't be held liable for the unforeseeable actions of a criminal.

At the trial, Transit Authority workers testified that the tool cart was not sectioned off by construction cones or even behind any safety tape while sitting on the platform. This is required by the safety plan approved by the MTA, according to court testimony.

This verdict is an important one as it upholds that law that contractors have a duty when doing work in the public domain to properly secure their tools and work areas. Contractors, of course, have a job to perform and complete when performing their specific construction tasks.

However, contractors often perform their work in public spaces and as such have a duty to insure that the work site is safe for bystanders, pedestrian and the general public. They must provide safe egress and ingress from and to the site and insure that their tools are secure.


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The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, P.C. - Bronx Personal Injury Attorney
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