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Construction Workers Take Action against Hudson Yard

June 25, 2020

The $25 billion Hudson Yards development has provided work for countless construction workers. Unfortunately, far too many have also suffered serious injuries.

According to a lengthy report by Commercial Observer, hundreds of workers have filed legal actions against the developer for personal injuries on the job. All construction workers deserve a safe job site in the city, and we hope that dangerous developers are held accountable. If you’ve been hurt, speak with one of our New York City construction accident lawyers today.

Around 150 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Based on a review of records, Commercial Observer (CO) found that about 150 workers had filed personal injury suits against the developer, general contractors, and other limited liability companies. The lawsuits span from 2013 to the present and were all filed in the city’s Supreme Courts. As Commercial Observer noted, other suits could have been filed outside the city, so there may be more than 150 suits in all.

The accidents covered include:

  • Tripping and falling on debris
  • Falling on a beam
  • Getting struck by equipment
  • Falling off scaffolding
  • Getting hit by pieces of scaffolding
  • Being injured due to defective or missing personal protection equipment

Many of these cases settled outside of court. However, other personal injury lawsuits remain ongoing against the defendants.

Is Hudson Yard Safe?

This is a large construction project, and injuries happen even on the best sites. No contractor or developer guarantees the safety of workers—and for good reason. Construction is an inherently dangerous profession.

But are the current number of lawsuits excessive? Some experts who spoke to CO believed that the numbers are high and indicate an unsafe work environment.

One government official with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety stated that a large number of injuries certainly raises eyebrows and could suggest a lack of sufficient training. The employee, Charlene Obernauer, did concede she wasn’t familiar with the cases coming from Hudson Yards, so this was a general statement.

To be fair, others believe that 150 lawsuits over six years is not an excessive amount, given the size of the project. A spokesperson for the Building and Construction Trades Council noted that about 25,000 people had worked at the site since 2013, so the fact that only 150 lawsuits were filed means a very small percentage of workers filed claims.

Are the State’s Labor Laws to Blame?

New York takes construction worker safety seriously. In many states, injured workers cannot sue their employers if injured on the job. However, New York State Labor Law 240 is an exception to that general rule. It imposes absolute liability for injuries caused by falling from an elevated height or being struck by a piece of falling material. Absolute liability means that workers can receive compensation even if their own negligence contributed in some way to the accident.

Other states, like Illinois, had similar laws but repealed them. Currently, there is a push to get the New York law scrapped or replaced with something friendlier to employers. For now, however, the law is good. Given the fact that construction accidents continue to be a problem, we encourage the state to keep it on the books.

Contact a New York City Construction Accident Lawyer Today

If you were injured at Hudson Yards or at any of the other construction sites in NYC, contact us today. Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman is a leading firm that has helped countless construction workers get the compensation they need. Call 212-285-3300 or fill out our contact form.


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