The widow of the Manhattan man killed in February’s crane collapse in TriBeCa has filed a claim against the city for $600 million because of his death, and city officials indicated Monday the massive case will likely not be settled without a court fight.
Attorneys for Rebecca Wichs submitted a notice of claim with the city comptroller’s office on April 27, demanding $550 million for the wrongful death of her husband, David Wichs, as well as $50 million for his pain and suffering and other claims. Notices of claim generally need to be filed with the city within 90 days of an accident before a lawsuit can be filed.
David Wichs, 38, a stock market mathematician, died after a 565-foot-tall crawler crane collapsed onto Worth Street while it was being lowered to guard against gusting winds. Three other people were injured. One of them, Thomas O’Brien of Massachusetts, filed a notice of claim in March for $20 million.
In a statement Monday to Newsday, a spokesman for city Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, “The Comptroller’s Office has determined that his claim cannot be settled pre-litigation.”
In her claim, Rebecca Wichs said the city was negligent and failed to properly supervise the crane operation when threatening high wind and weather conditions were imminent.
Officials said at the time of the collapse the crane was being operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging of Maspeth. The crane was owned by Bay Crane of Long Island City.
It was unclear Monday if Rebecca Wichs would bring in any other companies as defendants if she ultimately files a lawsuit. Her attorney, Howard S. Hershenhorn, didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.