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Jury Reaches Verdict In Collapsing Fire Ladder Case, Says Law firm of Parker & Waichman

May 2, 2000 | PR NEWSWIRE NEW YORK, May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the collapse of an aerial fire ladder during an attempted fire rescue in 1994, a loving husband and father plunged to his death while his family and a New York City firefighter were severely injured. On Friday, April 28, a Brooklyn Jury found that the City of New York, the Seagrave Fire Apparatus Corp. and the owner of the apartment building were all liable in the lawsuit, which was brought on by the law firm of Parker & Waichman on behalf of the Santana/Espinosa family.

On November 20, 1994, at approximately 1 p.m., tragedy struck the Santana/Espinosa family when a fire broke out in their apartment building located at 252 S. Fourth St. in Brooklyn. During the New York City fire department's rescue attempts, Yreno Espinosa, a 37-year-old father of two, was killed and his wife, Agueda Santana and their two children, five-year-old Lissette and four-year-old Edwin, were severely injured when the entire family fell six stories to the ground when a Seagrave aerial ladder being utilized in the rescue collapsed. New York City firefighter Gregory Smith was also injured.

Herbert L. Waichman, a litigation partner at Parker & Waichman, and John A. Mullan, an associate with the firm represented the Santana/Espinosa family in its claims against the City of New York, the Seagrave Fire Apparatus Corp. and the owner of the building where the fire took place.

The Santana/Espinosa family's claim against the City of New York generally involved the negligence in the city's handling and management of the fire, which included the placement and use of its equipment and the training and conduct of its employees. The Santana/Espinosa family also brought a claim against the city for purchasing improper and inadequate equipment.

Seagrave, the manufacturer of the aerial ladder that collapsed during the rescue, was also named in the Santana/Espinosa lawsuit. The suit claimed that Seagrave had defectively designed the ladder and that the company failed to warn people of the defect and the extreme limitations the defect placed on the use of the ladder. Seagrave also breached its implied warranty, and failed to meet the industry standard declared by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for such equipment.

In addition, the lawsuit claimed that Rite Management, the owner of the building, was liable because the bulkhead (roof) doors were chained and padlocked in violation of the Multiple Dwelling Law, which prevented the family from exiting the building by way of the roof.

According to Parker & Waichman attorney and managing partner Jerrold S. Parker who managed discovery of the case along with Lauren J. Gould, an associate in the firm, the jury found all three defendants liable. The City of New York was found 50 percent liable; the Seagrave Fire Apparatus Corp. was found 35 percent liable; and Rite Management was found 15 percent liable. The damages portion of the plaintiffs' trial is set to begin on Thursday, May 4.

Smith, the injured firefighter, settled his personal injury claim for an undisclosed amount during trial. The firm of Agoglia, Fassberg, Magee & Crowe represented Smith in his case.

The law firm of Parker & Waichman representing injured victims throughout the United States, has offices in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. The firm has successfully protected the rights of personal injury victims in many significant cases, including the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, 1995 Williamsburg Bridge Subway collision, 1992 USAir crash, 1999 Air Egypt crash, Fen-Phen and Rezulin drug cases and many more. Parker & Waichman has been recognized by the international Martindale-Hubbell law directory for its "high professional legal standards and ethics" by registering Parker & Waichman in it Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers. For more information about the Santana/Espinosa case, contact the law firm of Parker & Waichman at (516) 466-6500 or

/CONTACT: Jerrold S. Parker,, or Herbert L. Waichman,, both of Parker & Waichman, 516-466-6500, or 800-YOURLAWYER/
09:10 EDT

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