SECOND DEPARTMENT UPHOLDS KINGS COUNTY SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS TO DEFENDANT UNDER LABOR LAW §240(1) BUT REVERSES IN REGARD TO LABOR LAW §200
December 22, 2017 Posted By News
Plaintiff had filed suit against defendant Metropolitan Exposition Services, Inc., who allegedly was hired to effectuate and supervise insulation of an art show, claiming that, while he was performing electrical work for the art show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, he was injured when two panels compromising the walls of an exhibition booth fell on him.
Defendants initially moved for summary judgment dismissing causes of action under Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1) and 241(6), which was denied without prejudice to renew. Upon renewal, the Supreme Court granted those branches of defendant’s motion and plaintiff’s appeal.
In regard to Labor Law §240(1) defendants established the absence of causal connection between plaintiff’s injury and the lack of failure of a safety device described by Labor Law §240(1). Essentially the Court found that the pin and bracket system located around the exhibition booth was not meant to function as a safety device in the same manner as those described under Labor Law §240(1). As such, there was no finding that defendants had failed to provide any safety device to plaintiff enumerated under Labor Law §240(1), which caused plaintiff’s injuries.
However, the Appellate Court found that the Supreme Court erred in granting defendants summary judgment dismissing the cause of action under Labor Law §200. The Court found plaintiff’s accident did not arise from the manner in which the work was performed, but rather from the alleged dangerous condition at the work site i.e.; the alleged defaulty pin and bracket system, noting that liability for a violation of Labor Law §200 will be imposed if the general contractor had control over the work site and created this dangerous condition or had actual notice of it. The Court ultimately found defendants failed to establish that it did not serve as a general contractor or agent with control over the work site, and failed to establish that it did not create the dangerous condition or have constructive notice of it.
While defendants were kept in under Labor Law §200(1), it was a major victory since plaintiff’s Labor Law §240(1) claims were dismissed as the Court noted that even though something had fallen onto the plaintiff, there still must be a safety device enumerated under Labor Law §240(1) that failed to establish liability.