An electrical contractor who suffered burns in an explosion at a job site agreed to a $1.325 million settlement in his Middlesex County suit, Young v. Palin Enterprises, on June 19.
Michael Young was replacing a component on a fire suppression system at a warehouse in Lyndhurst on June 18, 2012, when he was suddenly engulfed in flames. Young suffered third-degree burns to 36 percent of his body, including his legs, arms, hands, face, neck and back. He suffered respiratory failure and kidney failure, according to the suit.
The suit claimed that an inspection of the system by a sprinkler contractor 19 days before Young’s accident found numerous deficiencies, including extensive corrosion and water damage caused by a leaking roof. The suit claimed the building owners, the tenant and the sprinkler contractor were negligent for failing to notify Young of the prior inspection report and for exposing him to dangerous conditions.
Besides the burns, Young, 55, underwent a tracheostomy, kidney dialysis and arthroscopic surgery to the left shoulder. He sued: Palin Enterprises and Valley PW, two companies that each owned 50 percent of the warehouse and were responsible for roof maintenance under the lease terms; Dealer Tire, the warehouse tenant, whose lease made it responsible for maintaining the fire suppression system; Associated Fire Protection, which performed the inspection prior to Young’s accident; and Atlantic Sprinkler, which was performing work on the system at the time of the accident.
A fire marshal contended that the explosion occurred because Young touched a pair of pliers to a live wire, but Young disputed that contention, according to his lawyer, Paul Caliendo of Gill & Chamas in Woodbridge. Caliendo said the pliers were found intact but they would have disintegrated if they contacted an electrical charge from the line due to its high voltage. Caliendo also maintained that his client did not contact the live wire because he did not suffer an electrocution.
The settlement was reached after mediation with former Superior Court Judge Jack Lintner of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus in Bridgewater. The settlement calls for payment of $500,000 by Valley PW on behalf of itself and Palin Enterprises, $375,000 by Atlantic Sprinkler, $375,000 by Dealer Tire, and $75,000 by Associated Fire Protection.
The lawyer for Valley PW and Palin Enterprises, Gregory Irwin of Harwood Lloyd in Hackensack, and Lisa Derogatis of William Staehle’s office in Morristown, who represented Dealer Tire, each confirmed the settlement.
Robyn Gnudi-Kalocsay of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, who represented Associated; and Jeffrey Bell of Golden, Rothschild, Spagnola, Lundell, Boylan & Garubo in Bridgewater, for Atlantic Sprinkler, did not return calls seeking comment.
$900K for Pedestrian Death in Bergen
Wang v. Poole: The estate of a Chinese exchange student who was struck and killed by a car while crossing a street will receive $900,000 as compensation.
The family of the victim, Weiqi Wang, agreed to the settlement with USAA, the carrier for defendant Carlos Poole, on June 24, before a lawsuit was filed, said the family’s attorney, Christopher DiGirolamo.
The accident occurred on Nov. 26, 2016, when Wang, a graduate student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, was crossing River Road in Teaneck and was struck by a car driven by Poole, of New Milford, said DiGirolamo, of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi in Fort Lee.
Wang was thrown over the hood of Poole’s car and landed in the street, DiGirolamo said. She lost consciousness immediately and sustained a skull fracture, a broken leg and arm, a fractured hip, and fractured sacrum, DiGirolamo said.
Wang underwent emergency surgery but died of blunt force trauma to the head four hours after the accident, DiGirolamo said. She was 26.
DiGirolamo said he would have filed a lawsuit in Bergen County Superior Court had the claim not been settled.
USAA did not respond to a request for comment.
Icy Parking Lot Fall Settles for $605K
Malvin v. Barnes & Noble: A man who injured his ankle in an icy parking lot fall settled his Middlesex County suit against the company contracted to clear snow from the lot on April 24 for $605,000.
According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Epstein of The Epstein Law Firm in Rochelle Park, at approximately 7:20 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2015, Reid Malvin parked his car in the lot of Barnes & Noble on U.S. 9 North in Freehold, to stop by a Starbucks on his way to work.
Malvin proceeded to walk around the rear of his car to avoid the snow piled up in the parking space, and slipped and fell on black ice, he claimed.
The suit named Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, National Retail Properties Inc., East Coast Lot and Pavement Maintenance Corp., and P.O.B. Contracting LLC. P.O.B. was responsible for the settlement, per an indemnity agreement in its contract, according to Epstein.
P.O.B. was hired to plow and clear snow from the parking lot, as well as treat ice formations following a snowstorm, which included applying de-icing material to icing formations in the parking lot, Epstein said.
The suit claimed P.O.B. failed to plow the parking lot effectively or treat the ice formations.
Malvin, currently 36, sustained a right ankle fracture and ligament tears, which have required multiple surgeries and placed limitations on his regular activities, especially with his young children, he claimed. Malvin had an emergency open reduction and internal fixation of the fractures, and had the hardware removed in a second surgery. He then had a third surgery to remove a ganglion cyst and to perform debridement of a partial ligament tear, during which Malvin’s pre-existing herniated disc in his lower back sustained a new herniation. The herniation required a discectomy, resulting in a fourth surgery, according to Epstein.
Malvin’s health insurance company issued a lien of $100,170.
Courtney Malvin, his wife, also was a plaintiff.
The defense, according to Epstein, contended that Malvin was comparatively negligent and made a good recovery, and his back injury was unrelated to the fall.
P.O.B. was represented by Michael Muscio of Muscio & Kaplan in Denville. Muscio could not be reached for comment.