Woman hit by falling metal railing in North End files negligence lawsuit against roofing contractor

“Our client was just going to work on a fine summer morning when a large metal railing fell on her without warning,” said William J. Thompson, Frawleys attorney at Lubin & Meyer, PC. “She had no reason to know what we have since discovered is that the roofer has not taken reasonable precautions to prevent this avoidable tragedy. “

Shortly after the incident, a Corolla Contracting attorney said Corolla was one of two companies that were on site that day.

Corolla Contracting attorney Michael D. Riseberg responded to the lawsuit in a statement on Thursday.

“No act or word can ever repair the tragic damage caused by the July accident,” said Riseberg. “Corolla Contracting, a family business, has worked with its team and subcontractors on hundreds of projects across the region for over 30 years, with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the workplace and in the community.”

Riseberg said it was “important to clarify that Corolla was not doing any work on the roof, and at the time of the accident, or at no time, Corolla employees were on the roof. With a heavy heart, the incident resulted in an incredible loss. Corolla Contracting continues to deeply regret all who have suffered the immeasurable impact of this day. “

The Globe reported in July that witnesses said the Frawleys were walking their dog at 8:28 a.m. at the time of the incident. The city’s inspection department at the time confirmed that Corolla had been granted permission on May 30 to remove and replace a rubber roof at 47 Commercial Wharf East on Atlantic Avenue. However, additional work was also carried out that had not been approved.

The civil lawsuit states that Corolla repaired and replaced a roof at 47-49 Commercial Wharf East on the morning of July 25, and “used a crane mounted on a flatbed truck to move materials from the ground to the roof and move materials from the roof to the ground. A large metal basket attached to the crane was used to move these materials, including roofing products and debris. “

Corolla had set up a temporary metal railing system for the work area that was positioned around the roof, the complaint said.

At one point, the file states, the metal basket “collided with the metal railing system, causing a section of the metal railing to tip over and fall off the roof, moving four stories to the ground under gravity.”

The railing hit Kimberly Frawley in the head, and her husband “saw his wife’s skull bruised,” the file says. “She suffered severe and permanent physical injuries, including fractures to her skull, face and neck, and the need for hospitalization.” and multiple surgeries, hardware and metal plate placement, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care and treatment. “

She continues to receive medical treatment and it is not clear if she can go back to work, the complaint said. Thompson said she was working as a web designer at the time of the incident.

Their attorneys, who noted in the complaint that the Charlestown couple “walked down Atlantic Avenue. . . in the exercise of due diligence ”when the metal fell, placing the blame for their ordeal directly on Corolla.

“As a direct and immediate consequence of the negligence, inattentiveness and negligence of the accused. . . Kimberly Frawley has suffered severe and permanent personal injury including conscious pain and suffering, physical injury and harm, emotional injury and harm, permanent impairment of physical and mental function, loss of earnings and impairment of earning capacity, medical expenses and future care costs, among others harm and harm “, It says in the file.

The Frawleys are demanding financial damages to be determined by a jury with interest and costs according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, the federal agency for occupational health and safety continues to investigate whether Corolla Contracting has been drafted with federal health and safety regulations – something OSHA has twice concluded that the company did not.

In 2017, OSHA cited Corolla Contracting for allowing workers to perform roof repair work in Weymouth 60 feet above concrete using a security surveillance system – but without an employee trained in the use of the federal Freedom of Information Act.

“The employees worked on two levels. The wind was about twelve miles an hour and employees were pacing near the edge with their backs to the edge of the roof, ”wrote an OSHA inspector. “Employees could suffer broken bones, spinal injuries, head injuries or death.”

In 2017, an OSHA inspector in Nashua, NH saw Corolla contracting crews on the roof of a hospital. “Four of the [employees] stood on the edge of the roof looking at a clerk downstairs, ”wrote the inspector. “The [employees] were exposed to the risk of falling because they had installed the insulation on the roof edge without safety monitoring. “

OSHA reported that in 2014 and 2013 it was also cited for violating safety regulations for roofing work without adequate fall protection in Merrimack, NH and Revere.

Globe Staff’s Matthew Rocheleau contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

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