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Contradicting Story Knocked Plaintiff’s Labor Law §240 Claim (NY)

November 18, 2016

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Recently, the Second Department issued a decision in <em><a href="">Karwowski v. Grolier Club of City of New York</a></em>, 2016 NY Slip Op 07625, which reversed the lower courts decision and denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment based on alleged violations of Labor Law §240.
Plaintiff alleged that he was injured when he fell off of a ladder while painting the interior of the defendants premises. The Court found that the testimony and papers submitted were inconsistent with plaintiff’s account of how the incident occurred, and as a result, plaintiff could not establish a statutory violation.
The Court found that plaintiff must show that the statute was actually violated and that it was the proximate cause of his injury to recover under the strict liability statute Labor Law §240. The mere act of falling off of a ladder is in it of itself insufficient to impose liability on to the owner of the premises.  As such, plaintiff's motion was denied, and at the very least, 9% interest will not accrue between now and the eventual trial date.
Notwithstanding the harsh reality of Labor Law §240 that defendants and insurers face every day, plaintiffs still have a burden to meet.  And inconsistencies between tailored testimony and objective proof can provide leverage to defendants toward cost-effective resolutions.  Thanks to Dana Purcaro for her contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.

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