Painter Who Tipped Over Cart Doesn't Get N.Y.S. Labor Law Protection; Summary Judgment Granted to Defense & Case Dismissed

Case: Grygo v. 1116 Kings Highway Realty, LLC

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

Date: 6/27/12

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

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Facts: This accident occurred to plaintiff, a painter, while he was working on a construction project. As is often the case, his attorneys sought the protection of the N.Y.S. Labor Law.

The accident victim was a painter removing a plastic cover from a cart carrying sheetrock. He had covered the cart to protect the sheetrock from paint splatter. The cart flipped and the cart and sheetrock struck his leg.

Basically, this plaintiff caused his own accident. Without the protection of the Labor Law, he can only get benefits under the Worker's Compensation Law, there would be no one he could sue.

The defense moves for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, which consists of Labor Law claims for his accident. Defendants' primary argument is that there was no elevation-related hazard here, such as to involve the Labor Law.

Also not relevant was a portion of the Labor Law that required building materials to be stored safely. That provision applied to passageways, stairs and places workers would travel through. This didn't apply here because the cart tipped over in an open area.

Held: Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted; case dismissed.

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