Eileen Fullerton and Adonaid Medina secure a rare and important Appellate Division Win for Defendants in New York Labor Law Actions

Christian Melendez v 778 Park Avenue Building CorporationOn August 16, 2017, Eileen R. Fullerton and Adonaid C. Medina, got an affirmance from the Appellate Division, Second Department, of a Decision of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Hon. David B. Vaughan, J.S.C.) on behalf of building owner and general contractor clients. Plaintiff alleged that the defendants violated Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1) and 241(6), after he fell from a scaffold platform he was constructing.

The proof showed that plaintiff was building the platform portion of the scaffold by placing wooden planks on top of steel I-beams. He fell when he stepped on an unsecured plank which he had placed on the I-beams just seconds before his fall, rather than walk over the secured planks he had been using immediately preceding his accident.

The trial Court found, and the Appellate Division affirmed, that the plaintiff could not recover for injuries sustained at the workplace, pursuant to Labor Law § 240(1), where plaintiff was solely responsible for choosing an unsafe method to construct the platform of a scaffold. The Court agreed that no additional safety measure would have prevented plaintiff’s fall, nor were practical under the circumstances. It also affirmed that the industrial codes cited to support the claims pursuant to Labor Law §241(6) were not applicable to the facts at hand.

As to the claims pursuant to Labor Law §200, the Appellate Division held that the plaintiff’s injuries did not arise from a dangerous condition at the premises, but from the manner in which the work was performed. Yet, the defendants demonstrated that they did not have authority to control, direct, or supervise the method or manner in which plaintiff’s work was being performed.

The Voice of the Defense Bar – And the Defense Wins Published 9-13-17 by DRI




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