Fall From Collapsing, Unsecured Ladder Results in Summary Judgment for Plaintiff Worker in Labor Law § 240(1) Case

In Diaz v. 5-01-5-17 48th Avenue, LLC, the Second Department recently reversed a denial of summary judgment for plaintiff, and found that plaintiff established his entitlement to summary judgment, on his claim under New York Labor Law § 240(1).

Initially, the court held that “no triable issue of fact existed as to the defendants’ ownership or management of the premises where the plaintiff’s accident occurred, since the parties entered into a written stipulation during the pendency of the motion, which was ‘so ordered’ by the court, in which the defendants conceded their involvement with the property.”

As to liability, it held:

[P]laintiff demonstrated his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability on the Labor Law § 240 cause of action by establishing that he was injured when he fell from an unsecured ladder that collapsed while he was performing roofing work on the subject construction project.  (Emphasis added.)

In addition, the court rejected defendants’ argument that summary judgment should have been denied on the ground that “plaintiff was the sole witness to his accident.” First, “plaintiff identified three other witnesses in his response to the defendants’ combined discovery demands,” and “[i]n any event, even if the plaintiff had been the sole witness to the accident, summary judgment would not be precluded.”

Finally, the court held that plaintiff was protected by the Labor Law, in that he was “hired by a contractor and was suffered or permitted to work on the premises.”

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