From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Nov. 4 — A New York City construction foreman has been convicted of homicide in the April 2015 death of a worker in a trench collapse at a Manhattan excavation site, prosecutors announced ( People v. Cueva, N.Y. Sup. Ct., No. 01971-2015, 11/4/16 ).
After a seven-day jury trial before Justice Anthony J. Ferrara of the state Supreme Court for New York County, Wilmer Cueva was found guilty Nov. 4 of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. But the jury found him not guilty of the top charge, manslaughter.
Cueva was the second defendant to be convicted on criminal charges in a case alleging that they had failed to address unsafe working conditions that led to the fatal collapse.
In June, Harco Construction LLC was convicted of manslaughter, criminal negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. That verdict’s been appealed. Prosecutors called it a rare and important instance of a company’s being held criminally responsible for a worker death at its site.
The case is a prominent marker of decisions by New York district attorneys in recent years to pursue criminal charges in workplace deaths, a course favored by safety advocates.
The defendants in the case were accused of failing to heed repeated warnings over several months—including the morning of the noon cave-in—from a safety consultant about conditions at the site where laborer Carlos Moncayo was crushed to death.
Charges remain pending against two other defendants, excavation subcontractor Sky Materials Corp. and Harco site supervisor Alfonso Prestia. Cueva was a Sky foreman.
Cueva’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 15. The maximum sentence for criminally negligent homicide is 16 months to four years in prison, versus five years to 15 years if the defendant had been convicted of second-degree manslaughter for recklessly causing the death.
“When construction supervisors take shortcuts, they take chances with their workers’ lives,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement. The death was preventable and foreseeable, he said.
“Today’s verdict again places companies and managers on notice: those who knowingly permit unsafe construction practices will face criminal charges if a worker is injured or dies as a result,” he added.
In a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg BNA, Cueva’s defense attorney, solo practitioner Cesar de Castro of New York, said, “While we still maintain that Mr. Cueva is innocent of all the charges, we certainly respect the jury’s verdict.”
The verdict, de Castro said, was “a clear rejection” of the prosecution’s “vigorously pursued theory that Mr. Cueva appreciated and completely disregarded the risk of death to his fellow laborer Carlos Moncayo.”
Instead, the defense attorney said, “the jury found that Mr. Cueva should have perceived the risks and convicted him of a crime that is designated as the lowest level felony we have in New York.”
De Castro said he backed Vance’s warning that a company “should ensure that its laborers are appropriately trained to appreciate the hazards on complex New York construction sites.”
To contact the reporter on this story: John Herzfeld in New York at email@example.com
The indictment is http://op.bna.com.s3.amazonaws.com/env.nsf/r%3FOpen%3dmdas-9z4vge.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)