First Department Diffuses Plaintiff’s Labor Law Claims

Car accidents don’t usually feature in Labor Law fact patterns.  Injuries to plaintiff in Labor Law claims usually occur on the jobsite, while they are outside of a vehicle, and § 240(1) (the “Scaffold Law”) necessitates that plaintiff be exposed to an elevation-related risk, which also occurs outside of a vehicle.  Nevertheless, the First Department gives us a rare opportunity to examine New York’s No-Fault threshold law, as well as New York’s Labor Law.

In a recent decision, the Appellate Division, First Department modified a Supreme Court, Bronx County Order that, inter alia, granted defendant owners’ motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s Labor Law § 200 claim and granted the general contractor’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss plaintiff’s claim based the No-Fault Law threshold injury/impairment category of 90 out of 180 days. 

In Valenti v. Metropolitan Transp. Auth., 2024 NY Slip Op 02000 (1st Dep’t 2024), plaintiff alleged that at the time of his accident, he was a passenger inside a mini-bus owned by their employer, the general contractor for a project that involved bomb-proofing the Throgs Neck Bridge.  The general contractor was responsible for transporting its workers to their designated locations to perform reinforcement work on the bridge’s towers.  En route to the designated location, the mini-bus was in a collision with another mini-bus transporting workers on the same project.  Plaintiff alleged violations of Labor Law §§ 200 and 241(6), with the § 241(6) claim based on 12 N.Y.C.R.R. § 23-1.29, as well as a cause of action sounding in common law negligence. 

In its decision, the First Department affirmed the lower Court’s decision dismissing the Labor Law § 200 claims against the defendant owners (here, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) because they did not supervise or control the means and methods of drop-off procedures for the workers at the site, which was left to the plaintiff’s employer and general contractor.  It also held that the lower Court properly dismissed plaintiff’s § 241(6) claim, as Industrial Code § 23-1.29 (which regulates fencing and barricade protocols for work being conducted in proximity to a street or highway) was not applicable, because the area where the incident occurred was en route to plaintiff’s worksite, and was not plaintiff’s worksite itself. 

As to plaintiff’s common law negligence claims, the First Department held that the lower Court should not have dismissed plaintiff’s claims that he suffered an injury that prevented him from performing his usual and customary duties for not less than 90 out of 180 days (No-Fault Law threshold category “90/180”).  Plaintiff submitted evidence that he did not return to work after the accident, and that his treating physicians attributed his resulting disability to the injuries from the accident.  However, the First Department stopped short of granting plaintiff’s motion on this basis, as a question of fact exists as to the extent of plaintiff’s disability during the 90 out of 180-day period.

The Valenti decision can be found here.

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