A New York City jury signed a $39.5 million verdict for a 30-year-old woman after she fell through an unguarded “vertical ladder” fire escape and suffered permanent injuries. That fire escape design had long been outlawed under legislation approved by the New York state legislature in 1928. This type of fire escape design is what was known as a vertical ladder. The 1928 law required that all such vertical fire escape ladders be replaced. The law was amended in 1948 to require all such models be replaced within a year.
In November 2008, Anastasia “Sasha” Klupchak was a 22-year-old New York University honor student and a varsity soccer player. She was visiting a friend’s fourth-floor apartment on 82nd Avenue in Manhattan. That evening,she joined two friends on the fire escape, which was at the back of her friend’s apartment.
As she turned to climb back through the kitchen window from the fire escape, she fell through an unguarded opening in the fire escape platform. She fell 12 feet to the roof below and suffered a severed spine and is now paralyzed from the waist down. She will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Today Klupchak is 30 years old and a graduate student working on her PhD in film at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She will receive her doctorate degree in May 2017.
At the jury trial, the principal of First East Village Associates, who owned the building, testified that Klupchak should not have been on the fire escape at all. He said it was not a balcony for those who resided in the building. However, he did say that New Yorkers regularly use fire escapes other than for emergency purposes. The owner’s principal also admitted on cross-examination that there was nothing in the apartment lease that prohibited the use of the fire escape for social purposes. He also allowed that it was not illegal for tenants to use the fire escape and furthermore said that Klupchak deserved compensation for her injuries, pain and suffering.
The attorney representing Klupchak was Thomas Moore.
Anastasia Klupchak v. First East Village Associates, et al.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic injury cases, product defect cases, truck accident cases and automobile crash cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (Kenwood, Hyde Park, West Town, Greek Town, Chinatown, Little Italy, North Lawndale, Hegewisch), Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Cary, Crystal Lake, Grayslake, Round Lake Beach and Elmhurst, Ill.
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