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Permanent Structures Afforded Labor Law § 240 Protection

July 19, 2012

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In <em>Burton v. CW Equities,</em> <em>LLC, et al, </em>, the First Department reversed the lower court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim. The plaintiff had fallen  from a permanent concrete walkway that provided access to the rear yard of a building under construction. The walkway extended over a 15-foot deep vaulted area below grade level and had no guardrails or barriers. In reversing the lower court, the First Department held that simply because the walkway was a permanent structure did not mean that it was not protected under Labor Law § 240(1).  Rather, since the plaintiff’s injuries were the direct result of a failure to provide adequate protection against a risk arising from a physically significant elevation differential, he was entitled to the protections afforded by Labor Law § 240. As for the Labor Law § 200 claim, the fact that the plaintiff’s injury did not arise from the method he used to perform his work, but from a dangerous condition, was not dispositive on the issue of defendant CW Equities’ control of the worksite.
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