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    08.04.15 Susan Karten ’83 and Bernadette Panzella ’81 Win Case in Landmark Civil Trial
    Susan Karten and Bernadette Panzella

    Bernadette Panzella (L) and Susan Karten (R).

    Brooklyn Law School alumnae Susan Karten ’83 and Bernadette Panzella ’81 represented the plaintiffs in a landmark civil trial that resulted in more than $96 million in damages being awarded to the families of a pair of construction workers killed in a crane collapse in New York City in 2008. The civil trial, which concluded on August 4, was one of the longest in the City’s history.

    The jury in the trial awarded the families of the two victims more than $48.3 million for economic losses and pain and suffering, and another $24 million in punitive damages to each of the families.

    Karten and Panzella argued that the crane’s owner, James F. Lomma, used an unqualified Chinese company to repair the crane to save money, and the crane accident occurred because of sub-par welding. The attorneys said that the owner, aware of the shortcomings of the crane, should have taken it out of service.

    Both agreed that damages awarded after the deaths served as a warning to bad actors in the construction industry.

    "This jury said you can no longer get away with putting faulty and defective equipment up at construction sites," Karten said. "If you do, you are going to get punished and it is not going to be a slap on the wrist."

    Read more:

    The New York Times: Families of 2008 Crane Collapse Victims Are Awarded $48 Million

    The New York Times: Jury Awards Another $48 Million to Families of 2008 Crane Collapse Victims

    New York Law Journal: Crane-Collapse Jury Awards $48M Punitive Damages