Asbury Park man who fell down elevator shaft at home in Belmar gets $550K settlement

An Asbury Park construction worker who fell down an elevator shaft in a Belmar home under construction in 2018 received a $550,000 settlement in a case against the Wall-based contractor in charge of the job, according to the plaintiff’s attorney.

Aquiles Valdivia-Salinas, 44, suffered several fractured vertebrae in the fall down the three-story shaft on Sept. 17, 2018, his attorney, Richard Reinartz of Hackensack, said.

The fall left him with permanent injuries, limiting his range of motion and requiring him to undergo surgery to fuse his vertebrae, Reinartz said.

The Nicaraguan immigrant was sanding door jambs on the third floor of the three-story one-family home on 9th Avenue, working for the subcontractor David Painting, an Asbury Park-based company, when he fell, Reinartz said.

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David Painting was not insured and the principal of the company disappeared early in the case, Reinartz said.

The lawsuit filed in Monmouth County, first reported by the New Jersey Law Journal, contended that Meccia Building & Remodeling Inc. of Wall, the general contractor and project manager at the site, was responsible for the opening in the elevator shaft and for David Painting being allowed on the job without insurance.

The company countered that it didn’t know David Painting was on the job and alleged that it had video of Valdivia-Salinas working a landscaping job six months after the fall, Reinartz said.

Because Meccia allowed an uninsured contractor on the work site, it was required to pay out $182,000 in workers' compensation benefits to Valdivia-Salinas, some of which was subtracted from the settlement amount, Reinartz said.

He declined to say how much Valdivia-Salinas will receive after legal fees, court costs and the money already paid in workers’ compensation benefits.

Ken Serrano covers crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues. Reach him at

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Asbury Park NJ man who fell down elevator shaft settles case for $550K