Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty Law Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

FDNY Firefighters Awarded $183 Million

On January 23, 2005, on 236 East 178th Street, a fire began on the fourth floor. Six firefighters, including Lt. Curtis Meyran, and John Bellow, responded to the call. On the fourth floor, the firefighters became trapped in a warren of rooms caused by two tenants, Caridad Coste and Rafaele Castillo. All six were forced to jump out of a window, and Curtis and John plunged to their deaths. Joseph DiBernardo, another, whose heels and feet were crushed by the impact, died six years later. The other three suffered injuries that will haunt them for the rest of their life.

On Monday, in one of the largest verdicts ever against New York City, a Bronx jury found it and the landlord of the building responsible, and ordered them to pay $183 million. The jury assigned 80% of the blame to the city, which means New York City will have to pay the families of those two firefighters $146 million for its failure to equip the firefighters with personal safety ropes that would have let the men escape from the burning building.


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