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WCM Obtains Defense Verdict in New York Labor Law Case.

April 4, 2016

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Counsel Georgia Coats obtained a defense verdict in New York County on a Labor Law case. In <em>Scekic v. Structure Tone, et. al.</em>, the plaintiff, our client’s employee, was ordered by the general contractor to raise a pipe previously installed by the plaintiff on the 1st floor of a clothing store, located along the 20 foot ceiling. Our client’s work was previously completed on the 1st floor and the only work left to be done was limited to the basement. The basement work did not require ladders and, accordingly, our client had sent back all ladders and scaffolds to its warehouse. The plaintiff used a ladder belonging to another trade and subsequently fell from that ladder when it broke. Structure Tone, the general contractor, settled with the plaintiff and proceeded at trial against its alleged subcontractors, including our client, on its claims for contractual indemnification.
To trigger our client’s indemnification provision, the parties had to prove that our client or the plaintiff were negligent. At trial, we argued that our client could not have foreseen that the plaintiff would have been ordered by the general contractor to perform work in an area of the building that had been completed and that its decision to remove all ladders, which were not needed to complete the basement work, was reasonable. We also argued that the plaintiff’s use of another trade’s ladder was done at the general contractor’s direction and that he could not have known that the ladder was defective through his inspection of the ladder.
The jury quickly returned its verdict finding that our client and the plaintiff were not negligent.

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