Category: Archive

Quincy scaffold victims’ families file lawsuits

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jim Smith

BOSTON — The families of Shane McGettigan and Ronan Stewart, the young Irishmen killed in Quincy on Aug. 11 when the scaffold on which they were working collapsed, have filed wrongful-death civil suits in Suffolk Superior Court.

Named as defendants in the court documents are Diversified Contracting and Metropolitan Scaffold Services. G & W Masonry, a small outfit in Brighton that hired the two men, is named as a third party defendant.

The complaints were filed by the fathers of the victims, Charles McGettigan of Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, and Michael Stewart of Dundalk, Co. Louth.

McGettigan’s suit claims that Diversified "negligently placed considerations of cost ahead of considerations of safety [and] negligently encouraged and facilitated its subcontractors, including G & W, to hire unskilled, untrained, inexperienced workers . . . and failed to take any measures to ensure proper training of said workers."

Metropolitan is accused of having negligently designed and erected the scaffold "so that the structure was unstable, weak and liable to collapse while workers were standing on it . . . [and] failed to inspect the scaffold structure for structural damage, deterioration or settlement after erecting the structure."

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Stewart’s suit makes similar claims about negligence by the companies and also states that "the scaffold base at the extreme right was situated near the wall on mulch and loose fill, not on concrete . . . [and] in the course of brick and mortar removal, one or more support tie-in braces at the upper levels of the scaffold were on [reliable] information removed or rendered ineffective."

The families are demanding jury trials and are seeking damages "in an amount which will fully and fairly compensate the beneficiaries."

McGettigan, who was 21, and Stewart, who was 23, had come to Boston earlier in the summer. McGettigan, whose father is an award-winning musical composer, was an university student and talented GAA athlete. Stewart had recently served three years as a private in the Irish Army.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is continuing its investigation of the accident.

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