James F. Lomma, a Whitestone resident once known as New York’s king of cranes, will have to pay over $96 million in total damages to the families of two victims from a 2008 crane accident.
In two separate jury decisions in State Supreme Court in Manhattan , Lomma and his company were held responsible for the deaths of two people killed when a crane collapsed in Manhattan. The families were awarded two installments of approximately $48 million each—the first for their economic losses, pain and suffering; the second for punitive damages in civil cases.
On May 28, 2008, the horizontal arm of a 240-foot crane began to circle and then snapped off, launching the cab and upper portion of the arm into a building on 91st Street and First Avenue. The crane’s operator, Donald C. Leo, and a construction worker, Ramadan Kurtaj, were both killed.
The decisions concluded a marathon ten-month civil trial.