Monday, June 22, 2015

The scaffold law.

Practice point:  Labor Law § 240(1) provides, in pertinent part, that "[a]ll contractors and owners and their agents . . . shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected . . . scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to [construction workers employed on the premises]."

This so-called scaffold law protects workers by placing ultimate responsibility for safety practices at building construction jobs on the owner and general contractor.

Here, the Appellate Division determined that plaintiff established prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability on the cause of action alleging a statutory violation. He submitted evidence demonstrating that, while in the course of his employment as a carpenter on property owned by the State, he was standing on an unsecured A-frame ladder when the ladder tipped over, causing him to fall.

In opposition, the State failed to raise a triable issue of fact, as it only relied upon inadmissible hearsay in support of its contention that plaintiff's conduct was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

Student note:  As property owner, the State may be liable for the accident even though it did not exercise control or supervision of the work.  To hold the owner liable, a plaintiff must prove that there was a statutory violation and that it was the proximate cause of the injuries sustained.

Case:  Casasola v. State of New York, NY Slip Op 04798 (2d Dept. 2015)

Here is the decision.

Monday's issue:  A fall down a fire-escape.