Tall Objects Don’t Mean 240 Protection (NY)
In Lemus v. New York B Realty Corp, the Appellate Division, Second Department reaffirmed that a plaintiff is not entitled to judgment as matter of law under Labor Law §240(1) simply because the plaintiff’s accident occurs as a result of working with a large and/or tall object.
In this matter, the plaintiff demonstrated that he was employed as a worker on a construction site and was directed to maneuver large steel beams approximately 20 feet long and weighing approximately 600 to 1,000 pounds. He was to use a metal tool to grab and rotate said beams, so that the holt holes were aligned. As he was rotating one beam, the tool he was using ricocheted backwards towards his face, and he sustained injuries.
At the close of the plaintiff’s liability case, the defendant moved, pursuant to CPLR §4401 (motion for judgment during trial) to dismiss the plaintiff’s Labor Law §240(1) claim, on the basis that strict liability only applies if the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from an elevation-related risk and/or an inadequate safety device to protect against elevation-related ricks. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, holding that because the plaintiff was injured while both he and the steel beams were at ground level, the work he was engaged in did not constitute the type of elevation-related risk that the statue contemplates regardless of the excess size and height of the steel beams. The Second Department affirmed on appeal.
Thanks to Shira Straus for her contribution to this post. Any questions, please contact Georgia Coats