In February, city and construction officials were stunned by the collapse of crane in Tribeca. The crane’s 565-foot-long arm fell onto Worth Street, killing one and injuring three.
Now, one of the injured parties is planning to sue the city for $30 million, claiming negligence, recklessness and carelessness. The crane owner, its operator and the owner of 60 Hudson Street are also expected to be the targets of future lawsuits.
Thomas O’Brien says he suffered spinal cord injuries and skull fractures when the crane crushed his car, and may require surgery.
His lawyer Jonathan Damashek says the city “knew perfectly well that there were very high winds in the forecast… they knew this was a potentially dangerous crane and they should have taken down that crane early, and fully closed down the street.”
After the collapse, Mayor de Blasio announced new rules for crane safety and increased enforcement. Operators of crawler cranes are now required to cease operations and secure equipment when wind forecasts reach 20 miles per hour. Fines for failing to safeguard equipment were also doubled to $10,000.
But a technical working group that was convened to recommend further reforms relaxed rules after two months instead, allowing cranes to operate with forecasts of 30 mile per hour winds.
A spokesman from the Department of Buildings told DNAinfo that although the city already has “the most robust crane and construction regulations and inspection requirements in the country,” a new task force will “propose additional best practices and regulations where necessary.”