Erica Tishman Manhattan: Erica Lindenbaum Tishman Killed In Manhattan Accident After Being Hit By Falling Debris In Midtown By 152 West 49th Street Near Times Square
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK (December 17, 2019) – A 60-year-old architect and business executive identified as Erica Lindenbaum Tishman has tragically died in a Midtown accident after being hit by a falling facade near Times Square.
New York police are saying that the accident took place around 10:30 a.m. For reasons that remain under investigation Erica Lindenbaum Tishman was hit by falling debris that came off of a building.
Horrified onlookers rushed to help her and call 911. But by the time paramedics and first responders arrived it was too late. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to records from the Department of Buildings the owner of the building was warned that an accident like this could happen. They received numerous citations for “failure to maintain exterior building facade,” stating “damaged terra cotta at areas above [the] 15th floor in several locations, which poses a falling hazard for pedestrians.”
Ultimately, the owner of the building was fined 1,250 for that violation. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Erica Tishman was a graduate of Harvard and Princeton and had over 30 years of experience in design and construction. She served as the vice president of Zubatkin Owner Representation and was a board member of various charities and educational organizations.
Liability In Manhattan Accidents Involving Poorly Maintained Buildings
Pedestrians being hit by falling debris may seem like a freak occurrence. But these types of accidents have become all too common in New York City. According to the New York Post, “In the past five years, 59 people have been struck by falling debris from New York City construction sites. And the numbers are on the rise: 27 percent of those pedestrians were victimized between January and September of last year.” There are a number of measures that building owners and construction companies should take to protect pedestrians and workers from falling objects:
- Warning signs should be provided to warn about the possibility of falling objects
- Loads should be properly secured at work sites
- Buildings should be periodically maintained and inspected by a competent person
Even if a building is initially made safe through good engineering and proper materials it can become dangerous over time. For example, pieces of a facade may break off because of water damage over time. Water can work its way into the cracks and joints of a building. During the winter months this water expands as it turns to ice. This then creates a larger crack which lets in more water and the cycle repeats itself. Water can also weaken the structural integrity of the metal support structures holding up a facade. This is precisely why building owners should look for rust around the facade.
Building owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner. According to the New York State Bar, “if there is an unsafe condition (or activity) on the owned property, of which the owner knew, or should have known, and which caused injury to someone on adjacent property, the owner will be liable.” For example, when a building owner has been issued a citation by the Department of Buildings they must take measures to address the source of the violation. Building owners that fail to take action will typically be liable for accidents. There are number of measures that building owners should take to prevent facade accidents:
- Property owners should adhere to all New York Building Codes
- Owners of buildings higher than six stories must have exterior walls inspected every 5 years
- FISP Reports must be submitted electronically through the DOB
- Common violations of the Facade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP) include:
- (1) A lack of current and clear photographs in the report
- (2) Improper time frames for intended repairs
- (3) A lack of photographs of the unsafe condition
The family of any victim that died in an accident after being hit by debris coming off a building may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages can cover lost wages, emotional distress, loss of love and potentially punitive awards. Unfortunately, building owners will often fight vehemently to deny any responsibility for an accident. A premises liability attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what may have contributed to an accident.
Investigating A Manhattan Accident Involving A Poorly Maintained Building
We at Pulvers, Pulvers & Thompson extend our deepest condolences to the family of Erica Lindenbaum Tishman. It is obvious from her extraordinary accomplishments and the words of those that knew her that she was a shining light in her community. This was an utterly horrific and preventable tragedy that should not have taken place. There needs to be some accountability for what happened. Any person that may have information about this accident should reach out to the NYC Department of Buildings at (212) 566-5000. It is our sincere hope that measures are put in place to prevent additional incidents like this.