During the demolition of a Staten Island building an employee was killed when the floor collapsed. Dana Ford, a car dealership in Staten Island, New York, contracted with Formica Construction, Inc. to build a new facility at 266 West Service Road, Staten Island, and demolish Dana Ford’s old facility. Buildings approved the construction plan, but Formica never obtained the necessary permit to commence the demolition. On the morning of November 28, 2014, four Formica employees entered the old facility around 7:30 a.m. The mezzanine floor of the building collapsed, crushing and killing Delfino Mendizabal, a Formica employee.
Buildings, based on its investigation, moved to suspend or revoke Formica’s building licenses and/or impose fines of up to $25,000 per violation. Following a hearing, at the Office of Administrative Trial and Hearings, ALJ John B. Spooner upheld the charges. Judge Spooner found that Formica had begun demolition without licenses, failed to describe the demolition and submit it to Buildings, and broke multiple City regulations relating to demolition. Judge Spooner recommended revoking Formica’s contractor’s license.
Judge Spooner credited the Buildings investigator who testified that the mezzanine collapsed because Formica’s employees had removed the support walls for the mezzanine. Formica’s experts had responded that Formica’s employees did not remove the walls that supported the mezzanine, but the walls may have been removed by “unidentified scavengers.”
(CIT) Department of Buildings vs. William Formica and Formica Construction, Inc., OATH Index No. 1100/18 (Mar 11, 2019).
By: Chris Murphy (Chris is a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2019).