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Ingram Obtains Dismissal of Labor Law Complaint


Recently, the New York State Supreme Court awarded summary judgment to defendants in a case involving an injured construction worker who asserted Labor Law claims. Michael Zisser, of lngram's Construction & Design group, successfully defended our clients against a plaintiff who was represented by an experienced plaintiff's firm. This outcome is rarely accomplished in cases brought under the Labor Law, which generally imposes an absolute liability standard on defendants. 

About the Case

The plaintiff, a professional carpenter, was hired by the defendants- the owner of the premises and the construction manager for the project - to perform concrete superstructure work. On May 19, 2015, the plaintiff was injured carrying a 16-foot long piece of plywood while working on the project. Specifically, he tripped on a one-inch piece of rebar that had been installed on a plywood deck where he was walking, despite having walked over that rebar 10 times without incident on the day the accident occurred. Thereafter, the plaintiff brought the suit alleging Labor Law violations.

Labor Law §241(6)

Labor Law §241(6) states that owners and contractors hold a non-delegable duty to provide workers with adequate and reasonable protection and safety. In order to establish a violation of this rule, a plaintiff must adequately show that the defendant violated a regulation setting forth a specific standard of conduct. In this case, the plaintiff relied on 12 NYCRR § 23-l.7(e)(I) as the basis of his claim. Pursuant to this regulation, all passageways must be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from any other obstructions or conditions which could cause tripping. The defense argued that the location of the accident was a work area rather than a passageway, as the work area was open with no walls or floors above. Therefore, this claim fails absent any applicable predicate regulatory violation.

Labor Law §200

Labor Law §200 states that defendants holding supervisory control over the injury-producing work are liable for not providing a safe work environment for injuries arising from the manner and method of the work being performed. Michael, through his nuanced application of the law to the facts of this case, was able to establish the absence of any defect inherent to the worksite.

Dismissals of entire Labor Law cases are few and far between. If you have a construction related issue, contact the Construction & Design team at Ingram today.