With a partner at the firm representing him, a Williams & Connolly senior associate has sued the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority for $50 million over a Metro station injury that allegedly left him unable to work.
The associate, Kevin LoVecchio, claims he hasn’t worked since a metal pole fell on him at the Metro Center station near his office in August 2015. The pole “violently struck” him in the head as he was getting on the underground escalator to leave the station at 13th Street and G Street Northwest, the lawsuit alleges.
A compartment that housed the pole, which is used to close the station entrance, was not closed and locked, according to a complaint filed Dec. 1 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit says surveillance video caught footage of the pole falling on LoVecchio.
He claims he staggered up the escalator and that people on the street stopped to help and called 911 to take him to the hospital.
LoVecchio claims he suffered “severe and prolonged” injuries from the accident, as well as mental pain and suffering. The complaint says he could not continue working as an attorney at Williams & Connolly and has lost income and possible future earnings. (LoVecchio is still listed on Williams & Connolly’s website as one of its 141 associates and, though disabled, is still employed by the firm, his lawyer said.)
The end of a Williams & Connolly associate’s legal career means an end to a six-figure-plus salary. Williams & Connolly’s starting salary for associates begins at $200,000 a year but does not include the bonuses typical at other firms. LoVecchio would have been making more than $100,000 in addition to that, given his eight-year-tenure at the firm.
The litigation firm is also one of the most stable and elite partnerships in Washington, with its partnership almost entirely homegrown from associate classes. Few partners leave year to year—and virtually no lateral partner moves in or out.
LoVecchio had built a promising rÉsumÉ. After graduating from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2002, he went to Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he assisted professor-turned-U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, summered at Williams & Connolly, and clerked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York and then Chief Judge Anthony Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who has since taken senior status.
LoVecchio is represented in his case by Stephen Urbanczyk, a Williams & Connolly partner who works on mass tort litigation defense for companies, such as those involved in vaccine, silicone breast implant, coffee maker fire and tractor fire liabilities.
“We typically represent firm employees in most legal matters. I have represented plaintiffs in this type of case many times,” Urbanczyk said in an email Monday. He declined to say whether he was handling LoVecchio’s case pro bono or for a fee, because that was not part of the public record, he said.
LoVecchio didn’t respond on Monday to a request for comment.
The transit authority does not comment on pending litigation, a spokesperson said. The authority has not yet filed a response in court nor disclosed an attorney to represent it on the case.
The transit authority—pilloried over the past two years for mismanagement and other problems—is a defendant in about 55 personal injury lawsuits filed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia federal court this year.
After smoke in a Metro tunnel killed a passenger in January 2015, the passenger’s sons sued the agency for $50 million—the same amount sought in LoVecchio’s suit.