Court Holds in Favor of Injured Construction Worker on Labor Law 200 and 240(1) Claims

In Humphrey v. Park View Fifth Ave. Assoc. LLC, the court modified a lower court’s order to grant plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim, and affirmed the denial of defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s common-law negligence and Labor Law § 200 claims.

Plaintiff claimed that he was injured when an aluminum beam fell from above him, struck the 18-foot long wooden stringer that he was carrying on his shoulder, and knocked him to the ground.

Labor Law § 240(1)

As for plaintiff’s Labor Law § 240(1) claim:

Plaintiff established entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim. … The fact that plaintiff did not see the beam hit the stringer or know where the beam fell from does not preclude partial summary judgment in his favor, as the testimony demonstrates that the beam came from somewhere above plaintiff and was a proximate cause of his injuries. That plaintiff was the sole witness to the accident also does not bar summary judgment in his favor. Furthermore, regardless of how high the beam was above plaintiff when it fell, the height differential was not de minimis, given the amount of force the aluminum beam was able to generate during its descent.

Common-Law Negligence and Labor Law § 200

The court also held that defendants were not entitled to dismissal of the common-law negligence and Labor Law § 200 claims:

Because the accident arose out of the manner of the work of plaintiff’s employer (Pinnacle), as opposed to a defect on the premises, the relevant inquiry is whether defendants had supervisory authority over plaintiff’s work. The record shows that an employee of defendant construction manager testified that he would walk around with Pinnacle employees “and ma[d]e sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to” after he became the site safety manager, and that he would “mention it” when he saw something wrong with Pinnacle’s work while he was still working in the first-aid office. Such testimony raises a triable issue of fact as to whether the construction manager supervised or controlled plaintiff’s work. Moreover, defendants did not submit any proof showing that defendant property owner did not have any such supervisory authority.

Share This: