Architect injured at Goldman site files suit

By Adam Pincus | September 18, 2008 05:33PM

An architect paralyzed from the waist down after being crushed last December by falling building materials at the site of the rising Goldman Sachs headquarters accused the investment bank, Tishman Construction, a state entity and others of negligence, and is seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages, a lawsuit said.

The complaint was filed Tuesday in Manhattan State Supreme Court, while Wall Street was rocked by financial turmoil that left Goldman and Morgan Stanley as the only two large independent investment banks standing in the United States.

In his lawsuit, architect Robert Woo said he was permanently injured both physically and emotionally because of the accident on December 14, 2007, at the construction site of the 43-story office tower at 200 West Street at Vesey Street.

Goldman Sachs, now with main offices at 85 Broad Street, is building a 2.1-million-square-foot world headquarters at the site in Battery Park City near Ground Zero.

Woo, 40, was working as an architect for Adamson Associates Architects at the site when seven tons of metal studs supported by a nylon sling fell, crashing into the trailer in which he was working. He charged that the sling failed due to damage and fraying.

The suit names as defendants the building owner Goldman Sachs Headquarters; the project’s general contractor Tishman Construction; the land owner Battery Park City Authority; three construction contractors; and a safety consultant.

Tishman received four Department of Buildings violations and the crane operator received one at the time of the accident.

Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs, Tishman and the authority said they did not comment on pending legal matters.

Woo suffered injuries, including trauma to his head and spinal cord, and is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, his attorney Ben Rubinowitz said. In addition, Woo cannot work as an architect, the attorney said.

Woo’s wife is also named as a plaintiff because of the effect of his injuries on their relationship, the court papers said. They live in Manhattan with their two children.

The suit was brought so Woo could receive compensation for injuries, medical care and pain and suffering, Rubinowitz said. He would not specify the amount of money Woo is hoping for.