First Department Holds that Plaintiff’s Labor Law § 240(1) Claim Fits the Mold

If you’ve ever seen Friends, you know that you don’t help Ross move heavy objects up a staircase and, as the First Department reminds us, you don’t do it without a hoist.

In DaSilva v. Toll GC LLC, 2024 NY Slip Op 00862 (1st Dep’t 2024), the First Department modified a Supreme Court, New York County decision that denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to his Labor Law § 240(1) and Labor Law § 241(6) claims, the ladder predicated on a violation of Industrial Code § 23-1.7(f).

Plaintiff alleged that while employed by the third-party defendant, his foreman instructed him to bring a staircase mold weighing approximately 200 pounds from the fifth floor to the sixth floor.  Plaintiff’s foreman refused plaintiff’s request to utilize a hoist to transport the staircase mold, and instructed him to manually transport the mold up the permanent concrete stairway.  While plaintiff and his foreman were carrying the staircase mold up the stairway, they hit a vertical support pole in the stairway several times as they attempted to move around it, causing plaintiff to slip on concrete debris and fall down the stairs.

In its decision, the First Department rejected the defendant’s contention that the staircase on which plaintiff fell was constructed as a permanent structure, and therefore outside the purview of Labor Law § 240(1).  Rather, because plaintiff’s foreman instructed him to work on the staircase, which the Court determined was an elevated work platform, defendant was required to provide plaintiff with an adequate safety device to carry the staircase mold up the stairs.  The failure to do so was the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries, established that plaintiff was not the sole proximate cause of the subject incident, and thus established plaintiff’s entitlement to summary judgment as to the Labor Law § 240(1) claim.

The First Department also noted that competing expert affidavits do not preclude summary judgment, as the experts do not dispute whether a safety device was required, and differ only as to whether the hoist was available, which was irrelevant in this context. 

The DaSilva 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.