Truly in a giving mood around the holidays, the Supreme Court, Kings County found plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case for summary judgment in his Labor Law § 240(1) claim when he stated he “lost his footing or balance and fell off” the subject ladder.

In Batis v. 85 Jay St. (Brooklyn), LLC, 2023 NY Slip Op 34216(U) (Sup. Ct. Kings Cty. 2023), plaintiff was employed by a non-party entity and was tasked with installing sheetrock at the subject jobsite.  Plaintiff was standing on an A-frame ladder while a co-worker was handing sheetrock to him.  Plaintiff would then use an electric drill to screw sheetrock screws into the sheetrock.  Plaintiff alleges that, during his work, the ladder moved, causing him to fall and injure his right shoulder.  During his deposition, plaintiff testified that he checked that the ladder was stable before he climbed onto it and did not know what caused it to move.

In opposition to plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim, defendant submitted documents and testimony, arguing that an alternative narrative of events existed, precluding a finding of summary judgment, because plaintiff’s accident was caused solely by him losing his balance, rather than any violation of the Labor Law causing the subject incident.  Moreover, defendant argued that plaintiff failed to submit any evidence that the ladder was defective or that any defect caused the subject accident. 

In its decision, the Supreme Court, Kings County denied plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claims, stating that even though the scaffold law is to be construed as liberally as possible to protect workers from injury, where the ladder was not defective, and did not collapse, move or fall, the issue of whether defendants provided plaintiff with proper protection for his work remains a question of fact for the jury. 

We’ve written before on this subject, where the Court issued a decision granting summary judgment for plaintiff when conflicting narratives were presented to the Court.  This case, however, stands apart because no evidence was submitted that spoke of a defect in the subject ladder.  The Court also noted plaintiff had not obtained an expert’s report following an examination of the ladder.

The Supreme Court, Kings County decision in Batis v. 85 Jay Street (Brooklyn), LLC has been appealed by plaintiff. 

The Batis decision can be found here.

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

This article was prepared by McCormick & Priore, P.C. to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers.  This publication is in no way intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.  All Rights Reserved.  This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of McCormick & Priore, P.C.