Despite being found guilty in June of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in the death of Carlos Moncayo, a 22-year-old construction worker who was killed in 2015 when a trench collapsed, Harco Construction still maintains the company was not at fault and is still appealing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that last July, Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. sentenced Harco to air televised PSAs about worker safety. Harco refused to comply - and seem to have gotten away with it because today, Judge Bartley said he would allow Harco to pay a $10,000 fine instead.
Instead, Harco's lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, agreed with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and city Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters' opinion that the state should, in fact, raise the penalty for corporate conduct that leads to death or serious injury.
“If a company is guilty of these actions, which we are not, the penalty being imposed doesn’t meet anywhere near the criteria of how the construction company should be dealt with,” Fischetti said. “That should be changed.”
However, Fischetti also said that making a public service announcement is the same as admitting guilt while the company is appealing the initial convictions. Convictions of this sort open the guilty company's door to civil suits, licensing issues, and damages the company's reputation. “There’s a cascade of collateral consequences that are potentially devastating,” said a separate attorney familiar with construction cases.
“When the cash register is going to start to sing is if a civil suit is filed.”