Lawsuit filed in deadly construction site fall at UChicago Hospital

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a construction worker who fell over 100 feet when a scaffold at the University of Chicago Hospital failed due to high winds. 

Jeffery Spyrka, 36, was critically injured on June 6 while working on the hospital's new cancer center project.

The suit alleged that Adjustable Forms Inc., the concrete contractor in charge of building the scaffolding, constructed the scaffold improperly, resulting in movement of the structure under any conditions, including high winds. 

Adjustable Forms assured employees that the system was complete, safe and proper to work on, despite the dangerously windy conditions, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint also claimed that the general contractor, Turner Construction Company, failed to implement proper safety measures to ensure the scaffolding system had been erected properly, ignored the presence of high winds, and allowed work to continue on the unstable scaffold, compromising the health and safety of those men at work. 

Louis C. Cairo, of GWC Injury Lawyers, will represent Spyrka.

"These workers should have never been working on what turned out to be an unsafe, dangerous scaffold perched over 100 feet in the air," Cairo said. "This was an absolutely callous act of negligence and misconduct by major construction companies who viewed progress on the job as their priority rather than the safety of the workers on the job. The evidence will prove that this was a totally preventable catastrophe."

The suit comes after The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened inspections with several companies involved in the accident.

New Horizon Steel, Spyrka's employer, said, "…We are currently investigating the cause of the incident to ensure something like this never happens again. We are also fully supporting all authorities in their investigations."  

Another worker, 27-year-old David O’Donell, died as a result of his injuries from the incident. A suit on his behalf is anticipated to be filed later this week.