Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First Department Finds That Collapse of a Wall is Not A LL 240(1) Violation

In Kaminski v. 53rd St. & Madison Tower Development, the plaintiff was injured when a wall that was being demolished by a co-worker fell and struck the plaintiff, causing him to fall down stairs. In affirming the dismissal of plaintiffs Labor Law 240(1) claim, the Court held that a collapsing wall was not the type of activity that 240(1) was intended to protect against and "being struck by an object loosened by vibration is merely a hazard incidental to the workplace." However, the Court reinstated plaintiff's 241(6) claim upon finding that questions of fact existed as to whether the defendants violated Industrial Code 23-3.3(b)(2) pertaining to falling masonry that may undermine the structrual stability of the floor upon which it landed. The question was whether the falling wall damaged the floor and staircase. Interestingly, there is no discussion of how damage to the floor or staircase could have proximately caused plaintiff's injury, since plaintiff claimed that he was injured when he was struck directly by the wall itself.

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