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Successfully Defended the GC for the Tappan Zee Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Successfully defended the general contractor on a project to rehabilitate the Tappan Zee Bridge after a six-day bench trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Our client chartered a barge as a floating work platform and entered into a subcontract agreement with a tug operator, whose tug was used to ferry electricians to the work site. Our client’s employee, a barge deckhand, fell into the river after an impact between a tug and the barge. After jointly settling with the employee for $794,448.97, the subcontractor and our client sought indemnification from one another. We prevailed by establishing that the tug was registered with the U.S. Coast Guard under a defunct entity, was operated by an unlicensed captain, and the subcontractor breached its duty of care by failing to exercise ordinary care, caution and maritime skills in the operation of the tug. Additionally, the court accepted our argument that the subcontractor’s destruction of the captain’s logbook after anticipation of litigation constituted spoliation, warranting an adverse inference that evidence contained within the logbook would have been unfavorable to the subcontractor. The court rendered a verdict in our client’s favor, dismissing the subcontractor’s cross claims and ordering the subcontractor to pay $70,000.00 (+) to our client, representing the amount our client paid in excess of its percentage of fault. We were also awarded defense costs and attorneys' fees, the amount of which is yet to be determined by the trial court after a separate hearing. The case is in the Second Circuit on appeals on both issues.

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