Labor Law Claims Crumble Under the Weight of Employee Negligence (NY)Labor Law §§ 240 and 241(6) impose liability onto contractors and some property owners who fail to provide adequate protection and safety to any person involved in construction, demolition, and excavation work. In Vega v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2015 NY Slip Op 08506, plaintiff, and employee of non-party Citnalta Construction, was working on the reconstruction and renovation of the 96th Street subway station. A co-worker operating an excavator dropped concrete debris on him, crushing his left index finger. Plaintiff brought §§ 200, 240(1) and 241(6) claims against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and NYC Transit Authority, alleging that the excavator operator dropped the debris before plaintiff had safely left the dumping area. Plaintiff’s summary judgment motion on the §240(1) and §241(6) claims was denied by the trial court, and the First Department affirmed. As for the §241(6) claim, the Court found that there was conflicting deposition testimony as to whether plaintiff had given the excavator operator a signal to drop the debris before he was safely out the way, raising an issue of fact about plaintiff’s own negligence in causing the accident. The Court also found that plaintiff could not show that an absent or inadequate safety device on the excavator caused the debris to fall on him. Instead, the debris that fell on plaintiff was purposely released by the excavator operator at the designated location (and possibly at plaintiff’s direction). There was no evidence that the excavator itself malfunctioned. As such, the portion of plaintiff’s motion regarding §240(1) was also properly denied. Special thanks to Sheree Fitzgerald for her contributions to this post. For more information, please e-mail Bob Cosgrove .