Last month, New York contracting firm Harco Construction was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a worker buried in an excavation collapse (see: "Employer Found Guilty in New York Excavation Death," Coastal Contractor 6/14). This month, a judge sentenced the company by ordering it to fund public service announcements about safety. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters criticized the state's sentencing options, saying: "the penalties that corporations face are modest and not commensurate with the harm caused." But for its part, Harco Construction told the court it would not obey the sentence.

"Harco faced a maximum fine of $35,000, which Vance and Peters had recently pushed for," reported Crain's New York Business (see: "Convicted construction firm ordered to produce public service ads," by Joe Anuta. "Instead, the judge sentenced Harco to a conditional discharge: The firm would not incur any jail time or fines provided that it produced print and TV PSAs in English and Spanish designed to promote worksite safety."

But according to a report in Commercial Observer (see: "Harco Construction Receives Lenient Sentence, Attorney Says Firm ‘Will Not Obey It’", by Terence Cullen), Harco's attorney, Ron Fischetti, said in court today that it 'will not obey it.'" From the Commercial Observer report: "'We cannot do that,' he [Fischetti] told Commercial Observer following the court’s proceedings today, referring to the public service announcements. 'It’s not that we will not do it; we cannot do it. We could just let this go and pay the $10,000 fine. But we’re not doing it because they didn’t do anything wrong.' By participating in the ad campaign, which Fischetti said would cost 'hundreds of thousands' of dollars, 'we would have to bear some of the responsibility of the accident, and we’re not guilty.'"