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Fall From Ladder Not Necessarily Labor Law Related (NY)

November 23, 2016

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Just because construction work is underway on property, Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1), and 241(6) do not automatically apply to claim for an unrelated injury.  In <a href="">Mammone v. TG Nickol &amp; Associates, LLC</a>, the plaintiff school maintenance worker was injured while working on roof mounted air conditioning units. Upon dispatch to the location, he climbed a permanently affixed ladder to reach the units, which he successfully repaired. After completing the repair, plaintiff determined the air filters on the units needed to be replaced. On his way back up the ladder to perform this task, he fell off the ladder and was allegedly injured.
Plaintiff commenced this action against various defendants, including TG Nickel, who was the construction manager for the construction work happening at the high school at the time of the accident.
The lower court found that TG Nickel established prima facie that plaintiff was neither engaged in an activity listed under 240(1) at the time of his accident nor was he performing construction, demolition, or excavation as described in 241(6), and dismissed these causes of action. The Appellate Division, Second Department, determined that the Supreme Court had properly dismissed these alleged violations of the Labor asserted by plaintiff against TG Nickel.
With respect to Labor Law § 200, liability exists against a defendant if there is evidence of a defective or dangerous condition at a work site that a defendant had or should have had knowledge of, or if that defendant had control over the means and methods of plaintiff’s work which caused the alleged injury. TG Nickel had argued to the lower court that the ladder used by plaintiff was not defective, a fact which plaintiff conceded. The lower court dismissed this cause of action based on TG Nickel’s lack of actual or constructive notice of any dangerous or defective condition of the ladder.
However, the Appellate Division found this was not the properly applied standard for evaluation of TG Nickel’s liability, as the plaintiff was allegedly injured as a result of the manner in which he performed his work, not because of any condition of the work site. Therefore, recovery against TG Nickel could only be found if it had the authority to supervise or control the means and methods of plaintiff’s work, which TG Nickel established that it did not.
Accordingly, although applying a different standard, the Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the common law negligence and Labor Law violation allegations against TG Nickel.
Thanks to Lauren Tarangelo for her contribution.
For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at <a href=""><u></u></a>.


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