Electrocuted Construction Worker Granted Partial Summary Judgment Where Electricity Left On

Case: Buckley v. West 44th Street Hotel

Court: Supreme Court, New York County

Judge: Joan A. Madden

Date: August 22, 2013

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



Family of Electrocuted Accident Victim Can't Prove Contractor Did Work or Even Existed Before Accident

Electric Shock/Electrocution


Facts: This accident case involves electric shock to a construction worker occurring in December, 2009. At the time, he was building a hotel in Manhattan, working on the roof from a scissor lift-type scaffold. He was driving bolts through a ceiling that contained electrified conduit. He claims orthopedic and neurological injuries.

Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on his New York Labor Law claim. He claims that defendants violated Labor Law regulations by filing to check if the electric current was turned off in his work area, thus failing to protect him.

Defendants argue that plaintiff failed to use available safety devices: double insulated rubber boots and rubber gloves and that he didn't stand on a rubber mat when working.

Plaintiff counters that the electrical voltage was so high (480 volts) that the protective gear wouldn't have protected him.

Defendants move for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against them.

Held: Defendants violated safety regulations by failing to insulate or de-energize the ceiling and failing to inspect the area and warn of the electrical shock danger. There is a question of fact as to whether plaintiff was injured by electric shock or by gravity, based on falling from the scaffold (although his harness stopped his fall).