Owner and Construction Manager Granted Summary Judgment Dismissal of Labor Law 200, 240 and 241 Claims

May 13, 2016 | Medical Malpractice Defense

David Richman, Brian Schlosser and Jason Romeo recently secured dismissal of a complaint which sought recovery under New York’s Labor Law which helps to clarify the parameters of Sec. 240(1),  the so-called “scaffold law” and, in particular, what constitutes an “elevated-related” accident.  Johnson v. Lend Lease et al. involves a journeyman steamfitter working who was installing sleeves and inserts for piping in a rebar reinforced, open Q-Deck when his foot slipped off the grid causing him to fall through a gap in the grid landing on the mat below and causing injury to his left knee (meniscal tear). The plaintiff claimed that his 18” fall through the grid met the criteria for an elevation-related accident. The court, however, saw things quite differently in dismissing claims under 240(1) as well as 241(6) causes of action.  In its holding the Court made clear that the plaintiff falling only 18” through a small (14”) space did not constitute an elevation-related accident noting that a gap of this size was not large enough for the plaintiff’s body to fall through and that consequently the opening did not constitute an elevation-related hazard for which protective devices spelled out in Sec. 240(1) were designed to apply. A similar line of reasoning was used by the Court in dismissing the 241(6) claim, rejecting plaintiff’s claim under Sec. 23-1.7(b)(1) of the Industrial Code.

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