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Leitrim man gets $25M in compensation

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

A County Leitrim man who was badly injured in a New York scaffolding accident three years ago has been awarded more than $25 million in compensation by a Manhattan Supreme Court jury.

Aiden McBrien, who was 23 when he was crushed under a collapsing scaffold structure in May 1997, was awarded the sum after successfully suing the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and several construction and scaffolding companies at the worksite where he was injured.

A jury of six women found that Triborough agency, and three other companies were all negligent and liable in some part for the injuries McBrien suffered, according to his attorneys.

An appeal could follow the decision or the companies could make a lesser offer.

McBrien has not worked since the accident and now lives at home in Ireland with his mother. During a pre-trial hearing to determine whether McBrien’s injuries were grave, Dr. Lawrence Shields, a Manhattan neurologist, told the court that the Irishman had suffered severe neurological and brain damage and also had orthopedic problems.

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McBrien testified that he had difficulty seeing to side of his right eye and difficulty hearing out of his left ear, according to court documents.

The damages were awarded for past and future pain and suffering and lost earnings because of McBrien’s inability to work.

"It’s a wonderful victory for the family and fairly represents the serious injuries Aiden sustained," said McBrien’s attorney, David Dean, of the Manhattan law firm Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath and Cannavo.

McBrien had been in the United States for only a few weeks when he started working in construction. He was working a night shift at the Battery Park Garage site in Manhattan when the scaffolding he and another man were dismantling collapsed, Dean said.

As the two men were removing bolts from the structure, the scaffolding began to shift. McBrien fell and was struck by the steel beams in the structure.

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