A New York Construction Accident Lawyer Who Represents Injured Workers Tracking Developments in Construction Accident Law.

Well, maybe this isn’t the best title for a post analyzing a construction accident case involving an injured worker. But the reason for the title is that, in recent months, there have been a spate of good decisions–really good, in fact–interpreting Labor Law 240(1), the Scaffold Law.

And this is a very good thing for construction workers, who have just about the most dangerous jobs that exist.

The most recent Labor Law decision of note that I’ve come across is Maximin v. 26-26 Jackson Ave., LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op 50330U, issued on Mar. 5, 2010 by Judge Battaglia of the Kings County Supreme Court, who seems to regularly crank out one construction accident decision after another.

The plaintiff was injured at a construction site when a concrete cinder block fell from above and struck his back. The block had previously been hoisted four stories above where it was stacked on top of other blocks.

What is significant about the decision is that it held that “falling object” liability is not limited to objects that are in the process of being hoisted or secured.  Rather, the object simply must have required securing, which entails an examination of whether it presents a foreseeable elevation risk in light of the work being performed.

In the accident, the force of gravity was applied to the block causing it to fall and injure the plaintiff. Further, there was a foreseeable risk that it would fall, thus establishing that the block “was part of a load that required securing.” Not only that, but proximate cause was established — an important element in all Labor Law cases — because the block fell due to the absence of a safety device of the kind enumerated in the statute.

In short, “the blocks were required to be secured in a manner that would have prevented a cinder block from falling down the shaft.”

Thus, the defense’s “primary contention” that section 240(1) “only protects workers against objects that fall while being hoisted or secured” failed.  

Of note, the decision cited the Runner v. NY Stock Exch., Inc. decision issued by the Court of Appeals in Dec. 2009 that greatly expanded section 240(1). Click here to see a discussion of that case.

Leave a Reply