Stavros Sitinas, Attorney At Law, New York City

Verdicts and Settlements:

$750,000 Settlement for Negligent Installation of Ceiling Fan

Mr. Sitinas obtained a $750,000 settlement for a 57-year-old client who was struck by a ceiling fan that, incredibly, dislodged from the ceiling while operating at full speed. The fan struck the client in the back of her neck and head, causing injuries that ultimately required cervical fusion surgery.

The chain of events leading up to this accident began at the plaintiff's beach house in Long Island, where the subject ceiling fan was initially installed. During renovations of the client's apartment in Manhattan, the client decided to have the ceiling fan removed from her beach house and delivered to Manhattan for installation in her apartment. As the client had already hired a general contractor, who in turn had hired an electrical subcontractor, she figured the installation of this ceiling fan would be a simple task. She would soon learn that was not the case at all.

The electrical subcontractor installed the fan and at first everything seemed to be operating normally. However, after a short period of time the fan made peculiar noises during operation, indicating excessive vibration. The client notified the electrical subcontractor, who found nothing out of the ordinary. Shortly thereafter, while the fan was in use, it literally spun off the ceiling and came crashing down on the plaintiff's neck and head, causing serious injuries.

The client sued both the general contractor and the electrical subcontractor. They both denied liability and initially sought to blame the plaintiff for installing an old fan in a new location. They claimed the fan's mounting screws were rusted from exposure to the salt air at the plaintiff's beach house, and they further claimed they had tried to talk the plaintiff into installing a new fan in her Manhattan apartment. The client denied any such conversations and countered that if, in fact, the screws had been compromised by the elements, they should have ordered new screws for the installation.

Mr. Sitinas's expert engineer inspected the subject fan and quickly came to the conclusion that not only was there nothing wrong with the screws that were used, but that the electrical subcontractor had failed to install one very important and integral screw during installation. Moreover, it was determined that the installer never consulted with the manufacturer's installation manual during installation, because if he had, he would have quickly realized he was missing this critically important screw.

The case proceeded to jury selection. Immediately before opening arguments were to be made to the jury, the case settled for $750,000.