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Architect Killed in Skyscraper Fall Lacked Proper Safety Equipment: Lawsuit

By Maya Rajamani | April 14, 2017 3:25pm | Updated on April 16, 2017 8:00pm
 Bruno Travalja lost his footing and fell from 135 W. 52nd St., officials said.
Bruno Travalja lost his footing and fell from 135 W. 52nd St., officials said.
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Facebook/bruno.travalja and DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

TIMES SQUARE — The architect who plunged to his death from a skyscraper he was working on was not given adequate safety equipment from the developer and contractors, a lawsuit claims.

Bruno Travalja, 52, fell more than 40 stories after losing his footing while working at the former Flatotel Hotel at 135 W. 52nd St., near Sixth Avenue, last September, police and a city official said.

His widow, Alexia Travalja, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court earlier this week claiming developer The Chetrit Group and contractors New Line Structures, Construction and Realty Services Group and Safety Squad were “negligent, careless and reckless” at maintaining the site.

“[T]he incident, and the fatal injuries suffered by… Travalja were occasioned solely by the absence, insufficiency, inadequacy and/or defectiveness of safety equipment at the location of the incident and the defendants’ violations of the New York State Labor Laws,” the suit reads.

According to the suit, the developer and contractors knew dangerous conditions existed at the site, but failed to correct them.

Since his death, his wife — with whom he had three children — has been forced to deal with “funeral expenses, loss of earnings and income, loss of services, parental guidance, spousal guidance, companionship, nurturing, care support, future inheritance and other pecuniary damages,” according to the suit.

She's suing for an unspecified amount of damages.

Bruno Travalja, who owned New Jersey-based Crowne Architectural Systems, was wearing a harness at the time of his death, but it wasn’t attached to anything, police and a city Department of Buildings spokesman said in September.

The Chetrit Group is in the process of converting the Flatotel into luxury condos and started construction on the project in 2014.

The Chetrit Group, Safety Squad and New Line Structures didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday. An attorney for Construction and Realty Services Group declined to comment on the suit.

Travalja's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.