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Not All Falls From A Height Trigger NY Labor Law 240(1) Liability

August 18, 2009

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In <i>Rozmyslowicz v. Keyspan Generation, LLC</i>, the plaintiff, an employee of an asbestos removal company, was assigned to construct a wooden tunnel through which workers would pass on their way to a “mobile decontamination unit.” While trying to climb atop the decontamination unit, the plaintiff fell and was injured. He brought an action based upon a violation of Labor Law § 240(1), for failure to provide proper safety devices. At trial, the jury concluded that the defendant had not failed to provide the plaintiff with proper protection from height-related risks. After trial, the plaintiff moved to set aside the verdict as against the weight of the evidence. His motion was denied at the trial level and again on appeal. The appellate court held that the jury could have rationally and fairly concluded that the plaintiff's assigned task neither required, nor contemplated, that he climb onto the roof of the decontamination unit, and, further, that the equipment he was provided was adequate to the task he was assigned.
Thanks to Cheryl Fuchs for her contribution to this post.
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