First Department Holds Plaintiff is Not Enumerated § 240(1) Device

In a recent decision, the Appellate Division, First Department modified a Supreme Court, Bronx County decision that, inter alia[1], denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim. 

In Carranca v. Memorial Hosp. for Cancer & Allied Diseases, 2024 NY Slip Op 01671 (1st Dep’t 2024), plaintiff alleged that while he was working in an elevator shaft, a 150-pound formwork panel fell approximately four feet onto his right knee as his co-workers attempted to manually hand up the panel to an overhead suspended scaffold. 

Plaintiff submitted evidence including his deposition testimony, and supplemental affidavit, an incident report, and the general contractor’s written safety policies[2].  In its decision, the lower Court found a question of fact and held that while it could be inferred from the nature of the accident itself that due to the size and weight of the form, it could fall and strike a worker below, plaintiff failed to establish, prima facie, that the defendant was obligated to provide safety devices of the kind enumerated in Labor Law § 240(1) in order to secure the form.

The First Department disagreed with the lower Court, holding that the evidence submitted established prima facie that (1) plaintiff was injured by a falling object and (2) that falling object should have been secured by a safety device contemplated by Labor Law § 240(1).  Without stating which device specifically, it cited to First Department precedent that held “[r]ather than using plaintiff [and his coworker] as the securing device contemplated by the statute, he should have been provided with one instead.”

The Carranza decision can be found here.

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

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[1] Fancy, unnecessary legalese for “among other things.”  However, the writer took Latin in high school, and as such, has an affinity for dead languages.

[2] The safety policy highlighted by the lower Court provides that “no person should lift an object greater than fifty pounds” and that a “mechanical aid should be used” instead.  The lower Court ultimately held that the safety policy, and plaintiff’s alleged violation of the same, was not dispositive of the defendant’s obligation to provide safety equipment of the type enumerated in Labor Law § 240(1).