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SJ Granted In Face Of Conclusory Defendant Affidavit On Labor Law Claim (NY)

December 9, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">This week the First Department, Appellate Division, in <em><a href="">Castillo</a> v. TRM Contracting 626 LLC, et al., 2022-00671,</em> affirmed a worker’s partial motion for summary judgment on Labor Law § 240(1) liability.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">While attempting to cover a window with plastic before starting to paint, plaintiff proved that he fell from an unsecured, 6-to-8-foot-tall A-frame ladder that was in poor condition and leaning against a wall in a closed position because of obstructions at the work site, namely, large boxes preventing him from fully opening the ladder. This established a violation under Labor Law § 240(1) because the workplace conditions prevented a worker from placing the ladder in an open, secure position, causing the worker injury because the ladder shifted, slipped, or collapsed.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Court faulted defendants for their failure to raise an issue of fact through an affidavit from defendant’s principal, holding that that affidavit was conclusory and did not cite any facts describing the location of plaintiff’s accident, did not show that the principal was aware of where plaintiff had been working, and did explain how plaintiff could have opened the ladder and properly secured it in the work area. Moreover, the competing affidavit did not deny plaintiff’s testimony that he was not allowed to move the boxes.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Court also rejected defendants’ argument that plaintiff’s partial motion was premature because defendants did not prove that the foreman, whose deposition defendants wanted to take but had never noticed, would provide relevant testimony as he was not present to supervise plaintiff the day of the accident.</p>
Thanks to Abed Bhuyan for his contribution to this post. Please contact <a href="">Heather Aquino</a> with any questions.

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