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Repairs vs. Maintenance Under New York's Labor Law

January 22, 2009

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In Pakenham v. Westmere Realty, a New York appellate court recently addressed the difference between “repairs” and “routine maintenance” in the application of Labor Law §240. Pakenham, a service technician, responded to a call regarding a lack of heat at the Westmere Realty office after hours in the winter. While working, Pakenham fell from a ladder. The lower court found that the plaintiff’s work was “routine maintenance” and dismissed his labor law claim. The Appellate Division reversed and determined that the plaintiff’s work on a snow covered roof after normal business hours in the dark was a “repair,” and a protected activity under Labor Law §240.
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