It was six years ago when a crane collapsed in Manhattan, killing two construction workers. The families of victims Donald Leo, 30, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27, needed answers to how such a tragedy could happen.
An investigation into the fatal crane accident centered on unsafe construction protocol by James Lomma, owner of New York Crane and Equipment. The investigation resulted in manslaughter charges against Lomma. He successfully defended them in court despite damaging testimony against him from his former crane mechanic (who plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide for his role in the accident).
Now, a Manhattan court will determine whether Lomma is liable for the construction fatalities under the lower, civil standard. If his negligence is proven, he will owe the victims’ families money damages.
Sadly, the wrongful death trial has been delayed because Lomma was injured in a serious car accident. His doctor and attorneys stated that he needs 6- to 8-weeks to heal before testifying at trial. Judge Justice Manuel Mendez reviewed the medical files and the physician’s opinion before reluctantly agreeing and postponing the case.
The news was especially devastating to the family of Kurtaj, who endured heavy expenses travelling from Kosovo so they could attend the trial.
Hopefully, justice will be carried out in July or August, helping the victims’ families to heal from the devastating impact of the 2008 crane accident.
Source: NY Daily News, “Victims’ Families Ordeal Deepened By James Lomma Crane Collapse Mistrial Decision,” Barbara Ross, May 30, 2014