On Friday, February 5, one man died and three were injured when a 565-foot crane toppled in gusty winds in lower Manhattan, not far from the World Trade Center. The investigation will likely take weeks to months as experts try to reconstruct whether the engineering, erection, operation or manufacture of the crane, or some combination of the above, was the cause.  Tower cranes are a sign of a healthy construction industry but, for some, they are an invitation to a legal fight.  Neighboring landowners, motivated by fear or money, often resist the erection of a crane in their backyard, citing a right to control the air space above their real estate and prevent trespassing crane booms from swinging overhead.  Resolution typically involves a written easement agreement, a list of extra precautions by the contractor, additional insurance, and often money.  Another fallen crane is likely to encourage protestors, and add time and cost to the construction process.

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