Plaintiff Falling from Ladder While Cleaning a Closet Shelf as Part of Renovation Project Can Make Labor Law Claim

Case: Grant v. Steve Mark, Inc.

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

Date: June 21, 2012

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

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Facts: This casts into light New York State's Labor Law, which is intended to protect construction workers from falls from heights and other elevation-related risks, such as falling objects. The Labor Law gives construction workers extra rights in case of an accident.

This worker was cleaning a closet when she fell off a ladder. However, the accident happened a part of a larger project -- the renovation of an apartment. Thus, New York's Labor law applies because its focus is on the overall job being performed at the time of the accident.

The lower court granted the defendants summary judgment dismissing the complaint. This opinion does not show the lower court's reasoning.

Held: The appeals court finds that a ladder tipped over and caused plaintiff to fall and get hurt.

She can pursue a claim under the Labor Law. However, there were no witnesses to the accident. Usually, this should not prevent a Labor Law plaintiff from winning summary judgment. However, under these facts, summary judgment was denied to BOTH sides, and plaintiff has to prove her case at trial. Which is a better result than the loss she suffered in the lower court.

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