A top M&A investment banker has sued NYC and a group of building companies over his wife’s death after she was crushed by debris that fell from a 17-story building

  • Erica Tishman, an architect, was killed last December by rubble that fell from a building in midtown Manhattan that had been repeatedly cited for unsafe conditions.

  • Now her husband Steven Tishman, known for running Houlihan Lokey’s M&A group, has filed a lawsuit against New York City and the companies that he blames for her death.

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The widower of a woman who was killed by debris that fell from a Manhattan office building late last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the building’s owner and the New York City government.

Steven Tishman, a managing director at Houlihan Lokey and head of the investment bank’s M&A group, said in a Monday lawsuit that the death of his wife Erica Tishman was preventable. Erica Tishman, an accomplished architect, was killed on Dec. 17, 2019, when part of a building fell off and struck her as she passed by on the sidewalk.

Steven Tishman seeks unspecified damages from New York City, which he accuses of a lax approach to building safety, and Himmel + Meringoff Properties and affiliated companies that own and manage the building at 729 Seventh Ave. He is represented by Benedict P. Morelli, a personal injury lawyer, and Marc Kasowitz, a well-known litigator.

Despite being warned of defects in the building’s facade months before the incident, the suit said, “the defendants failed to either fix the building defects, or take preventative measures to protect the public from falling hazards such as putting up a sidewalk shed. Instead, they did nothing.

“As a result, the defendants robbed Erica Tishman of her life, they robbed Steven Tishman of his wife, they robbed three children of their mother and a grandchild of his grandmother,” the complaint continued.

Erica Tishman’s death prompted a swift response, according to media accounts from the time. The building’s owner began installing a protective structure on the sidewalk later that day. The Department of Buildings also began a facade inspection blitz, according to the lawsuit, checking up on 1,300 buildings and finding violations at 222 of them.

The suit claims those measures were too little, too late, however.

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the New York City Law Department, said in an email, “This was such a tragic incident. Our hearts go out to this family. We will review the case and respond as we proceed in the litigation.”

A person who picked up the phone at Himmel + Meringoff Properties didn’t immediately comment and representatives for the Kasowitz firm didn’t immediately respond to comment requests.

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