Pressure, Not Gravity, Caused Pipe-Related Injury; Labor Law 240(1) Claim Dismissed

A recent decision, Joseph v. City of New York, 2016 NY Slip Op 06649 (App. Div. 1st Dept. Oct. 11, 2016), illustrates the limitation of New York Labor Law 240(1), which imposes strict liability in certain construction-related accidents.

From the decision:

Plaintiff Lindy Joseph was struck by a pipe while it was being flushed clean with a highly pressurized mixture of air, water, and a rubber “rabbit” device. The movement of this mixture through the pipe failed to bring the mechanism of plaintiff’s injury within the ambit of section 240(1) because it did not involve the direct consequence of the application of the force of gravity to an object. The mixture in the pipe did not move through the exercise of the force of gravity, but was rather intentionally propelled through the pipe through the use of high pressure.

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