Unanimous Appeals Court Allows Record Award of $2.5 M for Pre-Impact Terror To Victim Of Crane Collapse
Last week the Appellate Court covering Manhattan reduced a jury verdict but still allowed record breaking awards of $2.5 million and $2 million for "pre-impact terror" to the families of two men who were killed in a 2008 crane collapse on the East Side of Manhattan. The jury listened to the case for one year with the trial ending in July 2015. Video tape evidence showed both men appeared to know that death was coming when the crane began to collapse. The crane operator put his hands together in prayer before he fell. The jury was outraged at the egregious gross carelessness of the crane company that owned and maintained the crane--and the owner of that company. They knowingly sought to save money by purchasing cheaper replacement parts for the crane from a Chinese company that had expressed doubts about its ability to manufacture a safe product.
To the family of the crane operator, the jury awarded $7.5 million for pre-impact terror, a separate award of $8 million for conscious pain and suffering; and, $24 million in punitive damages. Similar amounts were awarded to the family of the construction worker. The Appellate Court substantially reduced the awards in all three categories but still upheld awards of: $2.5 million (crane operator) and $2 million (construction worker) for pre-impact terror; $5.5 million (crane operator) and $7.5 million (construction worker) for pain and suffering; and, $8 million and $9.5 million, respectively in punitive damages to the families of the two victims.