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Fall From Height Not Necessary to Sustain a Fall From Height Injury

June 23, 2009

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In <i>Peters v. Kissling Interests, Inc., </i>the plaintiff was standing on a window sill that was several feet above the floor, attempting to remove the window trim with a pry bar. A piece of loose trim unexpectedly broke free from the window and he began to fall backwards off the window sill. When the plaintiff grabbed the window sash to prevent himself from falling, the window shattered and a piece of glass struck his wrist. The lower court granted the defendant's motion for partial summary judgment dismissing the Labor Law § 240(1) claim holding that the plaintiff did not actually fall from a height. The Appellate Division, however, reversed and held that a worker is protected by Labor Law § 240(1) when he or she is subject to an elevation-related risk and the failure to provide any safety devices to protect the worker from such a risk is a proximate cause of his or her injuries. The fact that the plaintiff here did not actually fall was irrelevant.
Thanks to Cheryl Fuchs for her contribution to this post.
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