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Comparative Negligence Crushes Plaintiff’s Labor Law §241(6) Claims (NY)

January 12, 2017

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In <em><a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Cardenas-v-110127-Cabrini-Apts.-Corp..pdf">Cardenas v 110127 Cabrini Apts. Corp.</a>,</em> 2016 NY Slip Op 08835 (2d Dept. 2016), plaintiff was injured when the ladder he was using became unlocked, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. Plaintiff claimed that he notified his employer of the problem prior to the accident but was told to continue using the ladder anyway.
Plaintiff commenced suit against the building owner and managing agent as all claims against his employer were barred by the Workers Compensation law. All parties moved for summary judgment. The lower Court granted plaintiff’s motion in its entirety and denied the defendants motions.
On appeal, the Court held that plaintiff’s continued usage of the ladder, despite having knowledge of a defect, created a question of fact as to plaintiff’s comparative negligence. The Court determined that since plaintiff failed to meet his burden in showing that he was free from comparative negligence, that the defendants motions as to Labor Law §241(6)should have been granted and reversed the lower court’s decision.
Though Labor Law §240 was still an issue in this case, the Court has shown that plaintiff must prove that he was free from fault to succeed under Labor Law §241(6) and that not all Labor Law provisions are slam dunks for plaintiffs.  Thanks to Dana Purcaro for her contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.

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