Plaintiffs Injured in Ladder or Scaffold Accidents in the Workplace have a Cause of Action Alleging a Violation of Labor Law §240(1)

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Plaintiff was injured while performing removal of a storefront and demolition on a commercial center owned by defendant. Plaintiff was standing on a makeshift scaffold using two A-frame ladders. After cutting a portion of the facade of the storefront with a “Saws-All”, “the injured plaintiff turned to place that tool down when ‘[t]he last section [he] had just cut’ ‘moved or shifted to one side’ or ‘ripped loose from above [] [and] swung down,’ striking the makeshift scaffold and causing it to collapse and the injured plaintiff to fall [face down] to the ground.” The remaining facade then fell and landed on top of the plaintiff.

The Supreme Court initially denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability and the granted the defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment dismissal. Upon reargument, the Supreme Court granted the petition’s motion and denied the defendant’s cross motion. The Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed, holding that the plaintiff had a cause of action alleging a violation of Labor Law §240(1).

In workplace accidents involving ladder/scaffold accidents,”The collapse of the makeshift scaffold when it was struck by the facade establishes that the makeshift scaffold failed to afford the injured plaintiff proper protection for the work being performed, and that this failure was a proximate cause of his injuries.” The defendant failed to raise triable issues of fact as to whether the plaintiff “was the sole proximate cause of his injuries.”

Saldivar v. Lawrence Development Realty, LLC, NYLJ, 5/18/12, 27:5