On February 5th, 2016, 38-year-old David Wichs was on his way to work at a Lower Manhattan trading firm when a massive crane collapsed on Worth Street, injuring three people and ending Wichs's life. Wichs studied mathematics at Harvard, and had worked at Tower Research Capital for 15 years—and now his widow, Rebecca Wichs, plans to sue the city for $600 million, $550 million of which represents what Wichs would have earned as his career progressed, the NY Post reports.
Another $25 million will reportedly cover the "conscious pain and suffering" that Wichs endured as he watched the crane come down and was crushed under its weight, and $25 million more will go toward the loss of love and companionship that his wife has undergone. The comptroller's office, with whom the notice of claim was filed, said that "this claim cannot be settled pre-litigation."
At her late husband's funeral, Wichs remembered him as "the happiest person I ever met... I had an instant connection with [him] and attraction to him. We had the easiest connection. When I was with David, I felt like the most secure person in the world."
Wichs was raised in Czechoslovakia, but moved to America when he was a teenager and attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn. He and Rebecca were married in 2013, after a six-month engagement, and the two lived together on the Upper West Side, when they weren't traveling (which they did frequently).
Rebecca Wichs's legal battle began last month, when her lawyer filed a petition to keep Bay Crane Service, the owners of the crane that killed her husband, from having open access to the crane wreckage, as there was a concern that inspectors from Bay Crane might tamper with that key evidence. According to court papers filed along with that petition, Wichs has been made the administrator of her husband's estate, which was $3 million at the time of his death. This most recent notice of intent to sue was filed just before the next court appearance date—May 12th—regarding that petition.
This is now the second claim resulting from the February crane collapse: in March, 73-year-old Thomas O'Brien announced his intent to sue the city for $30 million, after he received skull and spinal fractures in the crash. That claim accused the city of "carelessness, negligence, and recklessness...in the ownership, operation, control, repair, inspection, and maintenance of its premises, streets, roadways, construction sites, projects, and cranes," and argued that O'Brien's injuries could have been avoided if the city had paid attention to reports of high winds and brought the crane down earlier.