Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Labor Law 240(1) Dismissed on Sole Proximate Cause for Failing to Obey Instructions

In Paz v. City of New York, a rope scaffold was elevated and tied to a building overnight to prevent pedestrians from accessing the scaffold. Plaintiff was instructed to ascend a ladder, climb onto the scaffold and lower it to the ground. Plaintiff instead elected to remain on the scaffold as he attached his safety harness. Plaintiff fell and was injured.

In affirming the dismissal of plaintiff's Labor Law 240(1) cause of action, the First Department held that plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his accident because he was aware of the procedure that he was supposed to follow, but he "chose for no good reason not to do so."

The Court went on to affirm the dismissal of plaintiff's Labor Law 200 claim on the basis that general instructions as to what needs to be done, but not how to do it, coupled with oversight of the timing and quality of the work and authority to stop work, is an insufficient basis upon which to prove control over plaintiff's work.

Lastly, the Court found that the Industrial Code provisions relied upon by plaintiff did not apply to the facts of the case to support his Labor Law 241(6) claim.

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