NYC Crane Mechanic Pleads Guilty in 2008 Construction Accident

10/02/2012 // New York City, New York, USA // New York City Accident Lawyer // Jonathan C Reiter // (press release)

A mechanic who played a role in a construction crane collapse that killed two workers was sentenced to a year of community service on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, according to information received by New York City construction accident attorney Jonathan C Reiter. The accident occurred in May 2008, and has since resulted in manslaughter charges for the operators and owners of the crane.

The mechanic who was sentenced to a year of community service pleaded guilty to his part in providing faulty machinery. His boss, crane owner James Lomma, went to trial and was cleared of all charges. While the mechanic explained that he “did not mean to hurt anyone,” the families of the two victims told the courts he deserved jail time and referred to him as a careless killer. One of the victims mother told the courts, “This man is one of the men who was responsible for my son climbing into that deathtrap.”

On May 2008, a crucial component of a 200-foot crane snapped apart while workers were tending to an apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The construction accident occurred one month after what authorities called a “penny-pinching, shoddy repair job,” and two months after another crane fell and killed seven others in a Manhattan building.

The spate of collapses spurred new safety measures in New York City, as well as surrounding towns, and has since generated numerous lawsuits. Criminal trials for all defendants except for the mechanic resulted in acquittals, making him the only criminally responsible party for the two deaths.

Lomma’s trial was this past spring. The mechanic, who testified against him, told the jury that he was given the idea that the crane owner (Lomma) wanted to save time and money on the repair. After getting estimates from known manufacturers, Lomma took a cheaper bid from a little-known Chinese company, even after the firm expressed misgivings about handling the job.

Lomma’s attorneys reported he repaired and tested the crane responsibly, and that other factors caused the collapse. The judge acquitted him of all criminal charges.

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