I read with great sorrow the story of the 2-year-old girl killed when she was struck by a brick that fell off a building facade in Manhattan ["Girl, 2, struck by falling bricks dies," News, May 19].

If you're not an attorney, you're probably unfamiliar with New York labor laws that place a legal burden on commercial owners for injuries incurred by workers at their buildings, even if the building owner had nothing to do with causing the worker's injury.

Building owners try to transfer this risk to the contractors performing the work by having the contractor hold the building owner harmless. Insurance companies have responded by excluding this coverage from the contractor's liability policy, or offering coverage at premiums unaffordable to most contractors. The lawyers handling these cases are making untold money, pursuing lawsuits that are almost impossible to lose.

Our New York legislature should repeal these laws that make it increasingly difficult for building owners to find properly insured contractors to repair building exteriors. If these legislators, and the attorneys who lobbied for passage of these laws, look closely at their hands, they just might see the blood of this girl.

Richard Selby, Dix Hills


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