John Johnson drowned in January 2016 during rehabilitation of Pier 78 on the Delaware River. 


Philadelphia, PA – A $10.5 million settlement has been reached in the wrongful death suit of Union 57 Laborer John “Jay” Johnson, by attorneys, Brian Fritz and Kevin Durkan, of the law firm Fritz & Bianculli, LLC.  


Johnson died on the night of January 14, 2016, when he tragically fell through a man-made cutout while working as a Union 57 Laborer on the Pier 78 Rehabilitation Project in Philadelphia that was awarded to defendant, Agate Construction Company, Inc. 


“Jay was a good man,” said family attorney Brian Fritz. “He and every worker deserve a safe worksite. This accident could have and should have been prevented. The defendant has a history of allowing poor and unsafe working conditions that have led to other workers being put in harms’ way.”


On April 10, 2012, pile driver, Patrick Montgomery, lost most of his left hand on an Agate project. Less than one year later, on February 17, 2013, diver, Michael McQuade, was killed during another Agate project. Disturbingly, the same inexcusable conduct that earlier cost Mr. Montgomery his hand and Mr. McQuade his life repeated itself on the Pier 78 Project. 


“We have to put an end to government contracts being blindly handed out to the lowest bidder,” said Fritz. “The wellbeing of the workforce has to be the top priority. Those awarding contracts should investigate these companies better to ensure the safety of all involved.”


Working on the newly formed 2 p.m. to midnight shift, it was Johnson’s fourth day on the job. A father and grandfather, the Wilmington, Delaware native accepted the shift, which was created to accelerate the progress of work, but the job site was not properly maintained, especially for night work, as the defendant is alleged to have cut corners to avoid fines and fees for missing deadlines.


Durkan added, “Agate was required to cover the holes cut in the pier deck and never did so. In fact, Agate regularly completed pre-accident safety reports that contained false and misleading information about the conditions of the pier.” 


Court documents show that the lighting was poor at best and the holes cut into Pier 78 were not properly covered or protected for worker safety. Johnson was working alone near one of the holes that led directly to the Delaware River. At approximately 7:30 p.m. on the night of the incident, the other crew members realized that no one had seen Johnson for about an hour. The crew members’ calls to his cell phone went unanswered and their alarm turned to panic when they spotted Jay’s hardhat floating ominously in the Delaware River. After the co-workers couldn’t find Johnson in the water, they called 911 and at approximately 9:20 p.m., Philadelphia Police Department divers found Johnson’s body. 


The Plaintiff’s forensic pathologist, Wayne K. Ross, M.D., believes that Johnson consciously suffered the physical symptoms of hypothermia, as well as the doom his impending death, for at least 15 minutes before finally losing the physical strength to keep his face above the bitterly cold river water. With his face now in the river water, he suffered excruciating pain and fear for an additional three minutes. After losing the ability to hold his breath any longer, Jay involuntarily inhaled, and suffocated on, the dirty, icy cold river water. 


Jay’s widow, Kimberly Johnson, said, “We hope that no other families know the suffering we have gone through, or the suffering the other prior victims have gone through, too. Hopefully, contractors with a terrible safety record, like Agate, are no longer given government contracts because it will save workers’ lives. If that had been done before, Jay would still be here.” 


From Patch

Mike Little represents a new group of victims in the opioid crisis—those hurt at work because of another worker’s addiction 

Mike Little’s life will never be the same after a February 2016 construction site accident in Center City left him unable to work ever again as an union carpenter. Little’s right leg was permanently injured when he slipped and fell on an icy surface after a water pipe burst. A settlement awarded Little a sum of $10 million, said his attorney, Brian Fritz, of the law firm Fritz and Bianculli in Philadelphia.

Fritz said that two of the defendants funded the settlement. Sulpizio Mechanical paid $1,950,000 in damages and First State Mechanical paid $8,050,000 for a total settlement of $10 million.

A resident of Northeast Philadelphia, Little, now 43, was working as a union carpenter as a member of Local 158 on the One Water Street Project. Contractor, First State Mechanical, was responsible for the work that ruptured the water line when the accident occurred. Its subcontractor, Sulpizio, drilled into the water line. Then, First State’s supervisor, an admitted opioid abuser, had abandoned the resulting icy conditions to allegedly visit a break truck. As a result, nothing was in place to warn workers of the unexpected hazard, and Little was injured.

“This case and settlement involve a whole new group of victims of the opioid epidemic – those hurt on the job site as a result of someone else’s addiction,” Fritz said. “And, unfortunately, this may be the first reported settlement in such a case, but it will not be the last.”

Since the accident, Little’s life has taken many bad turns, especially for his close family. His younger brother, Stephen, passed away and Little was unable to be a pall bearer at his funeral. Before that, his wife, Melissa, suffered her own health problems and he wasn’t physically able to care for her. As well as, the multiple surgeries he has undergone and an uncertain future he continuously faced.

“This case is a wake-up call to all construction contractors,” said Fritz. “The opioid epidemic is everywhere—including the construction site. Contractors have a responsibility to make sure they only employ safe and sober individuals. Not doing so presents a real risk of physical harm to the addict, as well as others on the jobsite, and today’s settlement indicates the possible economic consequences that employer faces too.”

Fritz & Bianculli, LLC is the first firm where ALL ATTORNEYS AND STAFF ARE OSHA CERTIFIED!!!


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency responsible for developing, issuing and enforcing workplace safety laws. So, no matter where you work, the OSHA laws must be followed to make sure you are safe at work. Unfortunately, most workplace accidents are the direct result of people or companies failing to follow OSHA safety laws.

Why should you have OSHA certified attorneys and staff work on your case?

In our experience, many people are told they do not have a case because the attorney reviewing it did not know that OSHA laws had been violated. Failing to follow OSHA safety law, leads to most workplace accidents. As a result, it is critically important for anyone who suffers a workplace accident to have attorneys and staff certified in OSHA laws. Thus, all at Fritz and Bianculli now have OSHA certification to better serve our clients who have been victims of workplace accidents.

So, if you, a family member or a friend has suffered a workplace accident, contact Fritz and Bianculli for a FREE CONSULTATION. Even if you have had your workplace accident case rejected by another attorney or firm. We have successful pursued cases where other attorneys thought no case existed. And, there are no fees for representation if no recovery is made. Please know there are time limitation on your ability to pursue a case—so call
Fritz and Bianculli today.

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Why You May Need More than a Workers’ Compensation Attorney after a Work Injury

When you’ve been injured on the job, your first course of action is typically to pursue benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation system. That’s the right thing to do, but when you’re looking for an attorney to handle your claim, you should consider hiring someone who has experience with more than just workers’ compensation claims. Here’s why.

When a work injury occurs, the injured worker may have two distinct avenues for recovery. First, a claim for workers’ compensation against their employers’ workers compensation insurer. Second, a claim against someone or company outside of the employer who contributed or caused the accident. The second form of action is often referred to as a “Third Party” case because it falls outside the employer-employee relationship.

Under Pennsylvania law, the damages recoverable in a workers’ compensation claim are limited. Thus, a Third Party action must be explored for an injured worker to make sure that their full monetary recovery available under the law is realized.

A third party claim can stem from a variety of circumstances:

  • You may have been injured because of the malfunction or poor design of a tool, machine or piece of equipment. In such a case, you would have a product liability claim.
  • Another employer or contractor may have created a hazardous condition on a worksite that caused your harm.
  • A company with overall safety responsibility, such as a General Contractor, has failed to make sure the work site was safe.
  • You may be injured in a motor vehicle accident while performing the duties of your job. If the other motorist was at fault, you can seek damages in a civil lawsuit, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether there were other third parties who caused or contributed to your injury.

Contact Fritz & Bianculli

At the law office of Fritz & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered nearly $200 million in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We

will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

New Demolition Standards in Philadelphia

Caterpillar D-10 model tractor on road construction site, low angle viewIn June, 2013, Philadelphia announced new measures governing the demolition of buildings. According to Mayor Michael Nutter, the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections has developed and implemented a number of changes, including:

  • New standards for issuing demolition permits
  • New requirements for demolition site inspection
  • Revised internal audit processes
  • Specific recommendations for city code and regulatory modifications

The revised demolition rules and procedures came after six people died and 14 were injured when a building being demolished caved into a Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Before a demolition permit application will be granted, applicants must now provide:

  • A professional engineer’s report on risks to any adjacent property if the building being demolished is more than three stories high
  • A site-safety plan addressing how adjacent properties, pedestrians and bystanders will be protected from harm
  • Documentation showing the experience and qualifications of the demolition contractor
  • A schedule of all demolition work proposed
  • Documentation of any violations by the demolition contractor

A contractor with any active violations will not be granted a permit.

In addition, before demolition may begin, a city inspector must conduct a site safety review. The contractor must notify the city inspector before any work begins. If the contractor fails to provide that notice, the inspector must visit the site every 15 days. If no work has started within 45 days, the permit will be revoked. An inspector may also impose a Stop Work order if demolition starts without notification.

The new procedures also mandate that the Licensing and Inspections Department confirm that all demolition contractors and subcontractors have appropriate insurance coverage.

Contact Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli

At the law firm of Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of collective experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at (215) 458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary.

Being Injured By Someone Who Was Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol At Work.

People Working in WarehouseAccording to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. “one-fifth of workers and managers across a wide range of industries and company sizes report that a coworker’s on or off the job drinking jeopardized their own productivity and safety.”

The NCAAD further concluded that there are several industries where workplace alcoholism is more prevalent. They are:

  • Food service
  • Construction
  • Mining and Drilling
  • Excavation
  • Installation, maintenance and repair

Many people are injured by a co-worker or other employee on the jobsite who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, prescription or otherwise. Employers are required to have the appropriate drug policy in effect to prevent you from being injured by another worker who is under the influence.

If you or someone you know has been injured by someone you suspect has been under the influence contact us.

Contact Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli

At the law firm of Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of collective experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at (215) 458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary.

Third-Party Work Claims

When you retain us to help you after a workplace injury, we will conduct a full investigation of what happened, looking to determine whether individuals or companies other than your employer or a co-worker contributed to or caused the accident. We’ll look specifically at:

  • Whether there was negligence in the design, manufacturing or marketing of a tool, machine or piece of equipment involved in your accident
  • Whether there was carelessness or a safety responsibility by any party unrelated to your employer, such as a vendor or subcontractor
  • If you were injured in a job-related automobile accident, whether the party at fault was unrelated to your employer