Thursday, May 17, 2012

First Department Finds Labor Law Section 240(1) Violated In Fall From Permanently Affixed Ladder

In Stallone v. Plaza Constr. Corp., the First Department ruled that the plaintiff should have summary judgment on liability under Labor Law 240(1) where he fell 13 feet from a 14-foot fixed ladder.  Plaintiff alleged that he fell when his foot slipped on one of the ladder’s metal rungs.  The Court concluded that defendants failed to take "statutorily mandated safety measures" because the ladder by itself was an insufficient device to protect the descending plaintiff from the application of the force of gravity.  The decision is silent as to whether plaintiff's fall may have been caused by narrow rungs, a wobbly ladder, slippery surfaces or anything that might make the ladder itself unsuitable for descending, as in the cases cited by the Court in its decision (Crimi v Neves Assocs., 306 AD2d 152 [2003] [very narrow rungs]; Priestly v Montefiore Medical Ctr./Einstein Med. Ctr., 10 AD3d 493 [2004] [wobbly ladder]).

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