Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Ladder Accidents

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In MALONEY v.J.W. PFEIL & COMPANY, INC.,et al., Appellate Division, 3rd Department, decided May 19, 2011, plaintiff, while standing on the top cap of a six-foot ladder installing sheetrock on an overhead soffit, fell and sustained injury. Plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240 (1) cause of action and defendants cross-moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Given the facts as set forth by the Court it is difficult to understand why plaintiff brought the motion. According to The Court plaintiff testified as follows;

“In his deposition testimony, plaintiff admitted knowing that there were other safety devices in other locations in the building better suited for the type of work he was about to perform and that he had routinely used these devices while working on this project. He acknowledged that a baker’s scaffold was in his immediate work area and, at the time of his fall, was being used by n associate working with him. Plaintiff also acknowledged that the stepladder he was using at the time of his fall, while not defective, was not tall enough for the work he was performing, and he admitted knowing that it of his fall, was being used by an associate working with him.

Plaintiff also acknowledged that the stepladder he was using at the time of his fall, while not defective, was not tall enough for the work he was performing, and he admitted knowing that it contained a written warning never to stand on the top cap of the ladder when using it. Given this proof, we find that defendants made a prima facie showing that Labor Law § 240 (1) was not violated (see id. at 917; see also Jock v Landmark Healthcare Facilities, LLC, 62 AD3d 1070, 1071 [2009]), shifting the burden to plaintiff to raise a triable issue of fact as to this claim.

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Our partner Howard Hershenhorn recently settled this case in New York Supreme Court, New York County. The case involved the wrongful death of a 38 year old construction worker who fell from a ladder at 80 Centre street in Manhattan. The construction worker was in the process of demolishing a chimney when the 6 foot A-Frame ladder upon which he was standing shifted causing him to fall 25 feet. He sustained fatal injuries including a brain injury and other internal injuries from which he later died . On behalf of the Estate we argued that the defendants violated sections 240(1) and 241(6) of The New York Labor law and that these violations by the Owner and General contractor were the proximate cause of the accident and the worker’s death. The defense argued that the worker was the sole proximate cause of the accident in that he failed to use available safety devices.

The New York Construction Accident Lawyers at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf have years of experience representing construction workers who have suffered injury and /or death in construction accidents in New York.

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In Fox v H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P;et.al., 2011 NY Slip Op 03205, decided April 19, 2011, The Appellate Division, Second Department rejected defendant’s claim that plaintiff was enagaed in routine maintenance and thus Section 240(1) was not applicable.

The facts as set forth by The Court were as follows;

“The plaintiff was employed by the fourth-party defendant Garrity Electric, Inc. (hereinafter Garrity), as a mechanic performing general electrical contracting work. Pursuant to an agreement between the defendant third-party plaintiff, H & M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P. (hereinafter H & M), and the third-party defendant/fourth party plaintiff Maintenance, Etc., LLC (hereinafter Maintenance), which provides retail companies with vendors for construction services, Garrity was hired to replace bulbs and ballasts/transformers in 78 overhead light fixtures, located approximately 12 feet above the floor, in a retail store leased by H & M. Garrity had done business with H & M since 2000, performing electrical work for which it was paid the sum of $30,000 to $50,000 per year. Garrity furnished a team of “seven or eight” workers, including the plaintiff, which was led by a team foreman, to perform the subject work in the H & M store. The plaintiff allegedly was injured when he fell from a ladder while engaged in this work. The Supreme Court, inter alia, granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability on the Labor Law § 240(1) cause of action.”

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In Parente v 277 Park Ave. LLC, decided June 25, 2009, The New York Appellate Division, First Department granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment under Section 240 of The New York State Labor Law.

The plaintiff was injured when he fell off a ladder he had placed on a desktop in an office leased by defendant Chase, while inspecting a malfunctioning booster fan over the desk. In rejecting the defendants’ argument that the work was only routine maintenance The Court held:

Labor Law § 240(1) imposes absolute liability on owners, contractors and their agents for injuries to workers engaged in the repairing of a building or structure that results from falls from ladders or other similar devices that do not provide the intended protection against such falls (see Orellano v 29 E. 37th St. Realty Corp., 292 AD2d 289, 290 [2002]). It does not, however, apply to routine maintenance that is not performed in the context of construction or renovation. Replacement of parts that routinely wear out is considered maintenance, outside the purview of this section (see Prats v Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 100 NY2d 878, 882 [2003]). Where something has gone awry, however, requiring repair, § 240(1) is applicable (see Caraciolo v 800 Second Ave. Condominium, 294 AD2d 200, 201-202 [2002]; Franco v Jemal, 280 AD2d 409 [2001]).

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In Campuzano v. Board of Education of the City of New York, JJ Lyons Associates, Inc; Decided on August 12, 2008, The First Department reversed the denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment on Labor Law § 240(1) and granted the motion. The facts as set forth in The opinion of The Court were as follows;

“Plaintiff Joaquin Campuzano and a coworker, while performing asbestos abatement work, were removing a heavy duct from a ceiling by cutting it with an acetylene torch. They started this work on a scaffold, but Campuzano determined it was dangerous to work that way, and decided instead to set up a ladder adjacent to the scaffold. While Campuzano was standing on the ladder and holding the hoses for the torch, a portion of the duct fell, hitting him and the ladder and knocking him to the ground.”

In granting plaintiffs’240(1) Motion The Court held;

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In Morales v. D & A Food Service, et.al; June 25th 2008, The Court Of Appeals in reversing The First Depatrment’s dismissal of plaintiff’s Section 240(1) claim held;

“The order of the Appellate Division should be reversed, with costs, defendant Santomero’s motion for summary judgment denied, plaintiff’s cross motion for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240 (1) cause of action against defendant Santomero granted and certified question answered in the negative.

Contrary to defendant’s argument, plaintiff’s work constituted an alteration within the meaning of Labor Law § 240 (1) (see Joblon v Solow, 91 NY2d 457, 465 [1998]). In light of our recent decision in Sanatass v Consolidated Inv. Co., Inc. (10 NY3d 333 [2008]), defendant’s contention that he lacks a sufficient nexus with plaintiff to support liability under section 240 (1) is without merit. Since plaintiff made a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on his section 240 (1) claim and defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition thereto, plaintiff is entitled to partial summary judgment on liability. ”