ELECTRICIAN'S NEW YORK LABOR LAW CLAIM DENIED WHERE HE FELL FROM LADDER WHILE HANGING A LIGHT

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Case: Dennis A. Panico v. Advanstar Communications, Inc.

Date: Feb. 7, 2012

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Queens; Queens accident attorney)

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Comment:

It is well known that New York State has existing in its Labor Law special provisions to protect construction workers from height-related falls and from falling objects. This law has been stretched somewhat over the years, but is generally understood to apply to projects where a building is being altered. The goal is to protect workers in places where big heavy objects, or their own body, can fall quickly, unleashing terrible physical forces.

Construction worker laboring in building electrical fell from a ladder at his workplace, while hanging a light for a show at Manhattan's Javits Convention Center for a motorcycle show. He sued the project's general contractor under New York's Labor Law, which protects workers on ladders and scaffold injured while doing construction and similar work.

The lower court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and went further, granting the summary judgment motion of defendant/general contractor Freeman Decorating Services, Inc., dismissing it from the lawsuit entirely.

On appeal, the higher court affirmed the lower court's denial of plaintiff's motion and dismissal pf this lawsuit against Freeman Decorating Services, Inc., reminding readers that while the Labor Law is not limited strictly to construction workplaces, Athe task in which an injured employee was engaged must have been performed during the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure."

In other words, the work being formed was not construction work or construction-like work, and did not involve a physical change to the building or structure. Therefore, reasoned the appeals court, this accident Adid not arise from construction, excavation, or demolition work,@ and the injured plaintiff loses.

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