Construction Companies Will Now Face Drastically Larger Criminal Penalties for Serious Work-Place Accidents Under Carlos' Law
15 February 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation known as Carlos’ Law, which amends New York’s Penal Law and increases the penalties for criminal corporate liability for the death or serious physical injury of an employee, a felony or misdemeanor, by fines of up to $500,000, as per the Governor’s press release. The legislation is named after Carlos Moncaya, a 22-year-old construction work who died at a construction site in New York City in 2015. Harco Construction, the company overseeing the construction site where Mr. Moncaya was killed, had been convicted of manslaughter and ordered to pay maximum penalty, which was $10,000 at that time. The construction site had been repeatedly cited for safety violations.
The new law drastically increases the potential criminal fines that construction companies could potentially face. According to the Governor’s press release, under the newly signed legislation, “a corporation is guilty of criminal corporate liability for the death or injury of a worker when it negligently, recklessly, intentionally, or knowingly causes the death or serious physical injury of its employees while they are on the job”.
Pursuant to the statutory language, the legislation increases the fines from a felony conviction from $10,000, to a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $1,000,0000, while raising the fine for a misdemeanor conviction from $5,000 to a minimum of $300,000 and a maximum of $500,000. These drastic increases are meant to have a strong deterrent effect on construction companies to ensure the safety of its workers and of construction sites.
The law goes into effect on January 23, 2023. We will continue to monitor and report of developments as to this law’s implementation.