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Queens man awarded $7.6M in Roosevelt Field mall accident

Roosevelt Field mall is shown on July 10,

Roosevelt Field mall is shown on July 10, 2009. Photo Credit: Yana Paskova

A construction worker and his wife have been awarded $7.6 million by a Manhattan jury four years after he was badly injured in a fall off a scaffold at Roosevelt Field mall, court documents show.

Santiago Cortes, 53, of College Point, Queens, "sustained severe and permanent personal injuries" in the April 15, 2010, fall, according to his negligence suit against the mall owner, The Retail Property Trust Inc., and J.C. Penney.

Cortes, who was working on a "construction and asbestos removal" project at leased warehouse space, fell when he was dismantling a scaffold, court documents show.

Cortes claimed the scaffold was faulty and he wasn't given the safety equipment required under state law.

Neither Cortes' lawyer nor representatives for his employer, JVN Restoration Inc., J.C. Penney and Retail Property Trust could be reached Saturday.

State labor law requires all contractors and owners of buildings to "give proper protection" to individuals who work on scaffolds, ladders and the like.

After a nine-day trial, the State Supreme Court jury on June 24 awarded Cortes $4.5 million for pain and suffering, and about $300,000 for medical bills. He also received about $1.3 million for loss of earnings.

His wife, Martha Del Rio, also had sued, claiming the accident deprived her of the "love, companionship, services and consortium of her husband." The jury awarded her $1.5 million.

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