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NY 2nd Dept.: Tree Removal Is Not A Protected Activity Under The Scaffold Statute

December 7, 2009

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To successfully assert a cause of action under Labor Law §240, also known as “the scaffold statute,” a plaintiff must establish that he or she was injured during "the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure." In <i>Enos v Werlatone, Inc.</i>, the plaintiff was injured when a tree fell on his back while in the course of removing several trees from the defendant's property. The Second Department held that the plaintiff's injuries were not sustained while he was engaged in an activity enumerated in the statute. The plaintiff attempted to circumvent this requirement with an affidavit stating that the tree removal was performed as part of a larger construction/renovation project. The court rejected this argument.
Thanks to Bill Kirrane for his contribution to this post.
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