N.J. man sustained facial fractures in deck renovating incident, suit alleges

By Jon Campisi | Sep 10, 2013

A Garden State man claims he sustained serious facial injuries at a suburban Philadelphia home where he was hired to do improvements.

Anthony C. Orbanus, who resides in Mount Holly, N.J., alleges that he suffered facial fractures in the spring of 2012 when he was retained by the property owner to renovate and repair the defendants’ outdoor deck.

In a civil suit filed on Sept. 6 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, Orbanus claims he sustained a fractured right cheek bone, facial numbness and swelling, contusions and lacerations of the lips, mouth and jaw, right eye swelling, pain and vision problems, permanent scarring, nerve damage and other problems after an April 28, 2012, incident at the home of Matthew B. Cataldi and Kelly Ann Geria.

On that day, the plaintiff was helping Cataldi in framing the outdoor deck when, after the defendant attempted to square the framing with a hand-winch pulley system, Orbanus was struck in the face by the device, the suit alleges.

Cataldi had obtained a cloth strap, a metal hook, and a three-and-a-half-inch nail, and used the various items to secure the hand winch to a two-inch-by-six-inch framing post, the suit shows.

Cataldi, however failed to properly secure the cloth strap to the metal hook, and also failed to adequately secure the strap to the framing post, although he still asked the plaintiff, who stood about 14 feet from the deck framing, to crank the hand winch.

At this point, the cloth strap broke loose from the framing post and “violently” snapped backward, striking Orbanus on the right side of his face, according to the civil action.

Cataldi is accused of negligence for failing to exercise reasonable care, instructing the plaintiff to operate a hand winch that the defendant failed to safely assemble, and using an improper cloth strap to secure the deck’s framing post to an improperly assembled hand winch.

Geria, the female defendant, is also accused of negligence, with the plaintiff faulting the woman for failing to provide the appropriate tools and instruments necessary to safely renovate her outdoor deck, permitting Cataldi to use inappropriate tools to repair the structure, failing to secure the necessary building permits for the improvement work, and failing to supervise Cataldi while he renovated her deck.

The complaint doesn’t seem to specify the nature of the relationship between Cataldi and Geria. It only says that Geria is the owner of the Hatboro, Montgomery County property and both she and Cataldi live at, and are possessors of, the home.

The plaintiff says that his injuries left him unable to perform his daily duties and activities, and caused him great physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation.

Orbanus also maintains that his injuries have cost him monetarily, with him being caused to spend large sums of money for medicine and hospitalization.

The plaintiff seeks more than $150,000 in compensatory damages, plus interest, attorneys’ fees and other court relief.

The complaint was filed by Philadelphia attorney Leonard G. Villari, of the firm Villari, Lentz & Lynam.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05207-CDJ. 

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