A window washer permanently disabled after falling at least 20 feet won $2.25 million after suing the owner of the building from which he fell. Tom Gjonaj also sued the tenant who occupied the second story of the building, alleging that the tenant and the building’s owner failed to provide safe and adequate protection as prescribed by New York’s labor laws.
Gjonaj, 60, is permanently disabled from the fall that occurred when the bolt to which his safety harness was attached dislodged from its mounting. He underwent hip and elbow surgery and has amassed $242,700 in medical expenses, according to court documents. Gjonaj is expected to require additional surgery and ongoing medical care, estimated to cost approximately $348,700.
Attorneys for the building owner and tenant argued that Gjonaj had been forbidden to use bolts to secure himself and that he was negligent in failing to test the bolt before applying all of his weight. Gjonaj’s attorneys countered that it was the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the bolt was secure and that in the absence of a secure bolt, the owner and tenant should have provided a substitution such as scaffolding.