In a recent decision, the Appellate Division, Second Department upheld a Supreme Court, Kings County decision denying plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability on the causes of action alleging violations of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) insofar as asserted against the defendants.

In Elibox v. Nehemiah Spring Cr. IV Mixed Income Hous. Dev. Fund Co., Inc., 2023 NY Slip Op 04432 (2d Dep’t 2023), plaintiff commenced an action against defendants to recover damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained after a scaffold collapsed at a construction project in Brooklyn.  Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, violations of Labor law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) and after discovery, moved for summary judgment on those two claims.  The lower court denied plaintiff’s motion holding a question of fact existed as to whether plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of the subject incident.

While a plaintiff’s comparative negligence is not a defense to a cause of action under Labor Law § 240(1), a defendant is not liable under Labor Law § 240(1) where plaintiff’s own actions are the sole proximate cause of the accident.  See Debennedetto v. Chetrit, 190 A.D.3d 933 (2d Dep’t 2021); Calle v. City of New York, 212 A.D.3d 763 (2d Dep’t 2023).  

The Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that because the defendants proffered evidence, inter alia, that (1) the scaffold at issue had been constructed properly, and (2) the plaintiff may have altered the conditions of the scaffold by removing the nails securing the plank upon which he was standing in such a manner as to create the condition causing its collapse.

The Elibox decision can be found here.

For additional questions, please contact Michael J. Shields, Esq. and/or Philip D. Priore, Esq.

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