City can’t shirk liability in case over 2008 Azure crane collapse, judge says

May 17, 2013 09:00AM

A New York State Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the city cannot deny liability for damage stemming from the 2008 crane collapse at the Upper East Side’s Azure cond-op, despite transferring ownership over to another entity, Law360 reported.

While another judge let the city off the hook two years ago, Judge Manuel Mendez ruled that liability remains under a state law commonly known as the “Scaffold Law.” Mendez rejected the city’s motion to dismiss claims brought by a trustee for Ramadan Kurtaj, a construction worker who was killed when the crane collapsed at The 333 East 91st Street site.

In the case of the collapse – which also killed crane operator Donald Leo — the court determined that a question of fact remained as to the city’s right to control the East 91st Street building after it leased the property to a school, so it could not show that it was entitled to dismiss the labor law claims.

In April, Mendez denied developer Mattone Group’s motion to dismiss a wrongful death suit filed by Leo’s father, as The Real Deal reported. [Law360]Hiten Samtani