Nicoletti Gonson Spinner

Dean Orofino v. 388 Realty Owners, Citigroup, et. al., Supreme Court, New York County, Index No. 102109/11

In November 2017, in New York State Supreme Court, New York County, Partner Kevin Pinter represented third-party defendant, Interstate Mechanical Services, at trial in an action based on a claimed Labor Law 241(6) violation brought by Local 3 electrician Dean Orofino.

Orofino claimed that on December 18, 2009, while working at the Citigroup premises located at 388 Greenwhich St. in Manhattan, he was caused to trip and fall over construction debris while carrying a heavy pipe on his shoulder. As a result of the accident, then 37- year old Orofino underwent multiple left shoulder surgeries and claimed he could not return to work as an electrician for Adco Electrical Corp., or for that matter, in any capacity due to his injuries. Citigroup claimed that Plaintiff did not fall on debris at all, but rather, that Orofino injured his shoulder when a heavy pipe he was lifting slipped off his shoulder, as per various accident reports completed within 2 days of the accident. Citigroup further claimed that if Orofino did trip on construction debris, such debris may have been the debris of HVAC contractor Interstate Mechanical, based on Orofino’s description of the debris. Orofino’s co-worker appeared at trial and testified that he witnessed Orofino fall over the construction debris. Orofino’s Foreman also testified at trial, but he testified that Orofino never mentioned a fall on debris of any type as the cause of his shoulder injury that day when Orofino reported the accident.

At trial, we argued that Interstate Mechanical was not present on the floor where plaintiff’s accident occurred at the time of the accident, thus despite the type of debris identified by plaintiff, it could not have been Interstate’s debris. After producing documents and putting Interstate’s witness on the stand out of turn, and before any of the damages experts testified, we convinced counsel for Citigroup to voluntarily discontinue all claims against Interstate, which counsel did in front of the jury, ending the case as against Interstate. Counsel for Citigroup later obtained a defense verdict from the jury.