Newfield Home Company pays Settlement for Wrongful Death of Worker
On May 14, 2014 Sherrill Lehman’s life was shattered when a Tioga County Sheriff informed her that her husband Grover Lehman had died while working for Jim Ray Homes, Inc. installing a manufactured home in Newfield, NY. Investigation into the accident disclosed that the crew had lifted a home on four bottle jacks while Grover, 60, was underneath the home. A gust of wind blew the home off the jacks crushing Grover who died instantly.
Sherrill described Grover as “larger than life. He had so much energy and so much talent.” Grover had just about completed renovation of the couple’s country home on Crumtown Road in Spencer. After his death Sherrill received workers’ compensation benefits that still left her scraping by. She was forced to sell their home because she was unable to maintain or afford it.
Months later Sherrill learned more about the accident and became angry because she believed that the accident could have been prevented. However, the company denied responsibility and suggested that Grover was responsible for his own death. Sherrill sought legal assistance. After consulting with two law firms who did not believe she had a case, she contacted John L. Perticone at Levene, Gouldin & Thompson who thought otherwise.
“I believed in Sherrill and her description of how experienced and careful Grover was and found a way for her to seek redress” said Perticone. “Though the companies (Jim Ray Homes, Inc. and its sister company Shelter Valley, LLC) fought us every step of the way, we convinced Supreme Court Justice Eugene Faughnan to rule that the companies were in fact responsible for the accident”.
Though New York law limits damages in wrongful death cases to economic loss and does not allow a spouse recovery for loss of companionship, the defendants ultimately agreed to pay Sherrill $499,999.00.