On a Sunday afternoon in December 2013, our client was sitting on the sofa in the living room of his mother-in-law’s apartment after having spent the morning in church with his family. While the family was gathered in the living room, two huge concrete chunks of the ceiling collapsed, landing directly on his head and shoulders.

The aftermath of the ceiling that collapsed on our client

Six months prior to the ceiling collapsing on his head, our client’s mother-in-law had notified the building’s owner that when it rained, the living room ceiling would leak.   The complaint was documented by the landlord, which enabled us to prove that the building’s owner knew about the defective ceiling but did not take any steps to repair it prior to our client’s accident.

After the ceiling collapsed, our client briefly lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Bellevue Hospital, where he complained of neck and shoulder pain.  Our client underwent several MRIs, which revealed that he sustained significant injuries to his neck and his shoulder. Our client’s doctors first treated him conservatively, with medications and physical therapy.  When conservative treatment did not alleviate his pain and other symptoms, he ultimately underwent two surgeries, a cervical fusion surgery and shoulder surgery.

At the time of the accident, our client was employed as a bilingual special education high school teacher for the New York City Department of Education.  He attempted to return to work after the accident and after the surgeries, but was unable to perform his job duties due to his extensive injuries. He was forced to take early retirement, as his injuries were severe and debilitating.

During the discovery phase of the litigation, we took the depositions of employees of the building’s owner.  These employees admitted that the roof of the building was in terrible shape, and that every time it rained, a “ponding” condition would form on the roof causing leaks into the apartments below.

Schulman Blitz, LLP retained several expert witnesses to opine as to the nature and extent of our client’s damages.  We retained a vocational rehabilitation specialist to assess our client’s ability to work in the future.   We also retained a life care planner to evaluate our client’s future medical needs, as well as an economist to calculate the value of his past and future lost wages, lost fringe benefits, and other economic losses.

The case was vigorously defended, and after years of litigation, Fred Schulman, Esq. and Justin Blitz, Esq. settled the case at mediation for $2,600,000.00, providing our client and his family with much deserved compensation.