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NY App Div Holds Wind Gusts On Construction Site Unforeseeable Event

February 3, 2010

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In <i>Chacha v. Glickenhaus Doynow Sutton Farm Dev., LLC</i>, the plaintiff, a carpenter, fell from a construction site while nailing plywood boards to the floor joists of the first floor. The plaintiff was working less than four feet away from the unprotected edge of the first floor, when a strong gust of wind blew a piece of plywood off a nearby stack, hitting the plaintiff and knocking him to the floor, 10 to 15 feet below. The plaintiff established that the defendants had violated Labor Law §240(1) by failing to provide him with an adequate safety device while working on an elevated job site, but he failed to prove the accident was foreseeable. The Court found that the gust of wind was an unforeseeable, independent, intervening act that attenuated the defendant’s failure to provide the plaintiff with adequate safety device. Since the accident was not a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s failure to provide safety devices, the plaintiff’s Labor Law §240(1) claim failed.
Thanks to Chris O’Leary for his contribution to this post.
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