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WCM Achieves Summary Judgment in NY Labor Law Case.

May 31, 2020

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Partner Bob Cosgrove and associate Gabi Outlaw were awarded summary judgment in the case of <em>Byron Vera v. Shahram Ohebsion, et al</em><em>.</em> <span> </span>In this Suffolk County, NY case, plaintiff Byron Vera (“Vera”) alleged that he was injured when he fell from a ladder while installing an air conditioning unit in defendant Shahram Ohebsion’s (“Ohebsion”) New York home. Vera claimed the defendants negligently allowed a dangerous and defective condition to exist at the property.

New York state has strict liability statutes in place that impose absolute liability on property owners when a worker is injured while performing construction on their property. However, carved into the statute is the homeowners’ exception that provides protection from liability to property owners who meet specific criteria. Specifically, property owners are not strictly liable if they (1) intended the home to be a one-or-two family residence; and (2) they did not control the method or manner in which the construction work was performed.

In this case, we argued that Ohebsion fell squarely within the homeowners’ exception. First, we argued he bought the home in 2015 with the intention of residing there with his family after renovations. Second, we argued that Ohebsion did not control the method or manner in which the construction was performed.  In opposition to our motion, Vera argued that Ohebsion was a sophisticated businessman who bought and sold the home for commercial profit. However, Vera failed to provide evidence to support his claims. Thus, the Court <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/615856_2016_Byron_Vera_v_Shahram_Ohebsion_et_al_ORDER___WITH_COUNTY_156.pdf">granted</a> <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/615856_2016_Byron_Vera_v_Shahram_Ohebsion_et_al_ORDER___WITH_COUNTY_156.pdf"></a>the motion for summary judgment in Ohebsion’s favor, dismissing all claims against him.

For more information about this post, or WCM's Labor Law practice, please contact <a href="mailto:rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com">rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com</a>.

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