The collapse of a Brooklyn scaffold changed a woman's life forever and may result in criminal charges against the companies involved.
Kathleen Haley Keating's life changed in an instant as a result of construction and scaffolding companies violating basic safety rules, her attorneys claim.
Keating, then 32, was celebrating a promotion in the outdoor courtyard of Mission Dolores, a now-closed bar in Gowanus, on June 30, 2019.
The following day, Keating was found unconscious in a pool of her own blood after a scaffolding on the roof of 243 Fourth Ave., directly across from the bar, collapsed 12 stories to the ground.
Now, Keating is battling severe brain damage, and Brooklyn prosecutors are considering filing criminal charges against the companies involved. According to city investigators and Keating's attorneys, the scaffolding was not properly attached to the rooftop from which it fell.
Keating is now in North Carolina, gradually regaining consciousness, relearning to speak, and reestablishing contact with family members. Her father told the Daily News that she may never return to her accounting job in New York City.
“On the day the scaffolding collapsed, she had just received word from her supervisor that she had been promoted. Indeed, they were celebrating Haley's promotion when the scaffolding brought an end to her career,” Kevin Keating explained, referring to his daughter by her middle name.
“That brought an end to Haley as we knew her,” he said of her demise.
According to hospital records, the crash fractured Keating's skull and resulted in brain bleeds and seizures. Two years later, she continues to experience seizures, dizziness, and headaches, as well as difficulty focusing.
“We are fortunate she is still alive, that she now recognizes her family and remembers her own name,” her father said.
Zach Crittenden, 33, was moving out of a nearby apartment building on the day of the collapse when a strong gust of wind blew by and he heard a "huge crash."
Crittenden was the first to arrive at Mission Dolores, ahead of the paramedics.
“There was dust strewn about. “There is mangled material all over the place,” he stated. “I saw the young lady on the ground, her head in a pool of blood. The bartender approached the open courtyard and exclaimed, 'What the hell happened?' It was quite a mess. The crowd screamed... The crash sounded heinous in its violence.”
Keating's lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court names Vadem Brodsky, the building's owner; Silvercup Scaffolding, the scaffolding company; and the building's contractors, Werize Inc., Master Roofing & Siding Cons., Inc., and C&L Stucco Corp., among others.
Keating's attorneys and Department of Buildings inspectors allege that the construction companies violated the building code and committed a series of violations.
Werize was cited for failing to safeguard public property, with the DOB claiming that the scaffolding collapsed due to its lack of anchorage. Silvercup Scaffolding was similarly charged by DOB with leaving the scaffolding "inadequately secured."
Brodsky was charged with failing to perform his duties as the site safety coordinator. He was unavailable for comment.
Keating's attorneys alleged that no one checked the scaffolding on the building's roof for at least ten days prior to the collapse due to the building's elevator being out of service.
Werize's scaffolding maintenance logs reflect inspections up to and including June 12, 2019 — but no subsequent inspections, despite a stern warning on each log that "The Scaffold(s) must be checked daily!"
The Brooklyn District Attorney's criminal investigation was revealed during a court hearing last year, when a lawyer for Silvercup asked a judge to halt Keating's lawsuit while the investigation was ongoing. The District Attorney's office confirmed the investigation to The News.
According to its lawyer, Silvercup received a grand jury subpoena in October 2020. According to Silvercup's attorney, prosecutors are also investigating Werize and 243 Development LLC.
Silvercup and 243 Development LLC. attorneys declined to comment.
“She does not want [the scaffolding accident] to be the end of her story,” Kevin Keating explained. “She may be constrained at the moment. However, she is making every effort to overcome.”