Record Settlement Reached in Death of Electrician Struck by Iron Hook

A record $17 million settlement was reached in the death of a local electrician.

In June of 2011, Adam Nowak, Sr., 45, was struck and killed by a 300-pound iron hook that fell from an industrial crane at Veolia Energy’s Schuylkill Steam Plant in the Grays Ferry section of the city.

Nowak’s family and local law firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that the crane where the hook fell from was “negligently maintained.”

“This incident did not result from a momentary lapse of inattention,” said David Kwass, one of the attorneys for the family. “Our investigation revealed that Veolia had failed to inspect its cranes thousands of times before the accident proving that this was not an unforeseeable act, but rather was predictable based on their utter lack of safety inspections.”

Robert Mongeluzzi, another attorney for the family, also said that the plant had a similar two-block accident back in 2004.

“[[They]] were told their safety limit switches were antiquated and prone to failure and needed to be upgraded,” Mongeluzzi said. “However, Veolia would not spend the $30,000 necessary to upgrade these critical safety devices. Veolia wouldn’t pay the bill and Adam paid with his life.”

Nowak’s estate reached a $17 million wrongful workplace death case settlement, believed to be the largest ever in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Nowak is survived by a wife and five children.

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