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Edelman, Krasin & Jaye Wins Appeal for Client with Workplace Injury

Gavel and law booksEdelman, Krasin & Jaye is very pleased to announce a recent victory in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department by securing summary judgment for a client who suffered workplace injuries on a construction site.

The Plaintiff was working on a renovation project when he fell and sustained injuries to his right foot while helping to transport a 600-pound, 14-foot-long steel I-beam down a staircase.

In July, a lower court had granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgement. The reversal of that decision means that the defendants must now come to the table and negotiate a fair settlement or go to trial on his very serious injuries. The plaintiff alleges that his fall was caused by the defective condition of the premises, including the presence of debris — such as chopped concrete, pieces of wire, and trim studs on the staircase — as well as inadequate lighting, and the lack of a handrail.

The suit claims a violation of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 200 against PWI Construction, Inc., the general contractor for the project, the lessee of the premises for which the work was being performed (St. John), and the out-of-possession landlord of the premises (Rolex Realty Company LLC and Rolex Realty Company, Inc.).

Labor Law 240(1) At Issue; Worker Protection Strengthened

Labor Law 240(1) imposes absolute liability on owners and general contractors for the failure to provide workers with adequate safety devices to protect against gravity-related risks. In their application of this well-established statute, the appellate division determined liability against the defendants as a matter of law, leaving only the issue of damages to be determined, placing our client in an excellent position. The decision is especially noteworthy, as it involved a safety device that is not specifically enumerated in the statute.

The plaintiff was hurt on a staircase that had been permanent at one time, but was left in place during construction to allow for the movement of materials from one level to another. The beam was being moved by hand by the plaintiff and his co-worker. The plaintiff lost control over the beam, and lost his balance, which caused him to fall down the stairs, sustaining severe injuries.

The appellate division held that the plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment as to liability, as “the record establishes a failure [by the defendants] to provide plaintiff and his co-worker with devices offering adequate protection against the gravity-related risks of moving an extremely heavy object down a staircase, leading to the worker’s loss of control over the object’s descent and plaintiff’s injuries.”

This is a significant decision for labor law cases involving staircases, the movement of heavy items by hand, loss of control over the object being moved, or loss of balance. The decision strengthens our ability to hold owners and general contractors absolutely liable for the failure to protect their workers.

New York Workplace Injury Lawyers

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, a New York-based law firm, is pleased to announce this appellate court victory, not only on behalf of our client, but also, by setting a strong labor law precedent, for all hard-working New Yorkers who get hurt on the job.

For more information about our legal services, or to arrange a free case review, you can reach our Bronx and Long Island offices by calling 1.800.469.7429. Speak with an experienced NY construction accident lawyer today!

Additional Labor Law §§ 240 Resources:

  1. HeinOnline, New York’s Labor Law Section 240: Has It Been Narrowed or Expanded by the Courts beyond the Legislative Intent, http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/nyls44&div=10&id=&page=
  2. Albany Law Review, Reforming New York Labor Law Section 240(1), https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-404174519/reforming-new-york-labor-law-section-240-1