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Raised Drywall Platform Not Elevated Within Meaning of Labor Law

June 15, 2009

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In Garcia v. Edgewater Development Company, the plaintiff was injured while unloading drywall from a platform that had been raised to an open second story window. Plaintiff brought a lawsuit alleging a violation of Labor Law 240(1).
In its motion for summary judgment, defendant argued that the plaintiff was not subject to an elevation-related hazard for which the protective devices enumerated in Labor Law 240(1) are required. The Supreme Court, Queens County, denied the defendant's motion.
On appeal, the Appellate Division for the Second Department reversed. The Appellate Division reasoned that since the plaintiff was able to grasp the top and bottom corners of the panel while standing on the floor in the building, the drywall was not elevated above the work site, but rather was at the same level as the plaintiff. The Court further stated that the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the drywall fell from an elevated level, as required to bring the accident within the coverage of Labor Law 240(1).
Thanks to Robin Green for her contribution to this post.
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