Second Department Holds Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion on § 200 Fails to “Go Yard”

In a recent decision the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the lower Court’s decision that denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss the causes of action alleging violations of Labor Law § 200 and common-law negligence, along with all cross-claims asserted against it. 

In Samperi v. City Safety Compliance Corp., plaintiff alleged he was injured while working on a construction site at a premises owned by one of the defendants when an outward swinging gate in the perimeter fencing swung open and hit him, causing him to fall.  The defendant owner had hired a fencing subcontractor to install perimeter fencing and access gates at the construction site.  As a result of the subject incident, plaintiff asserted causes of action alleging violations of Labor Law §§ 200 and 241(6).  

The fencing subcontractor moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and all cross-claims asserted against it.  The Supreme Court, Kings County granted the portions of the fencing subcontractor’s motion for summary judgment as they pertained to Labor Law § 241(6), but denied the portions of the motion as they pertained to plaintiff’s § 200 claim, common-law negligence claim and all cross-claims.  The defendant fencing subcontractor appealed. 

In upholding the lower Court’s decision, the Second Department illustrated the applicable standard for a defendant making a prima facie showing of entitlement to summary judgment with respect to Labor Law § 200.[1]  First, the fencing subcontractor established that it did not have authority to supervise or control the means and methods of the manner of plaintiff’s work, so to the extent that the Labor Law § 200 claim was based on a “means and method” theory, the moving defendant established entitlement to summary judgment. 

However, to the extent that plaintiff’s Labor Law § 200 claim was premised on a “dangerous condition”, the fencing subcontractor failed to establish its prima facie entitlement to summary judgment, because it failed to demonstrate that it did not create the alleged dangerous condition by installing an outward swinging gate in the perimeter fencing.

The Samperi 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.

[1] You’ll recall that Labor Law § 200 cases are broken down into two types: (1) “means and methods” of plaintiff’s work led to plaintiff’s injury; and (2) a “dangerous condition” at the worksite led to plaintiff’s injury.