Monday, February 8, 2016

Second Department Affirms Dismissal of Section 240(1) Claim Upon Finding Plaintiff Misused the Ladder From Which He Fell

In Scofield v. Avante Contracting Corp., the plaintiff was performing HVAC work from a 6-foot A-frame ladder.  He reached an area where stacks of sheetrock prevented him from placing the ladder directly beneath his work.  As such, plaintiff climbed to the third rung and leaned over to reach 3 to 4 feet to his right.  As he was performing his work, the ladder toppled over and plaintiff fell and was injured.  The Second Department affirmed dismissal of plaintiff's Labor Law § 240(1) claim upon a finding that plaintiff had improperly positioned and misused the ladder, which was the sole proximate cause of his injuries.  

Second Department Affirms Granting of Mistrial Over Plaintiff's Repeated References to Lack of Medical Insurance

In Peters v. Wallis, the trial court granted a motion to set aside a jury verdict against the defendant as contrary to the weight of the evidence, declared a mistrial and directed a new trial on the issue of liability.  On appeal, the Second Department modified to deny the motion setting aside the jury verdict, but the Court affirmed the mistrial on the finding that plaintiff's repeated references to her lack of medical insurance at the time of the accident may have influenced the jury. 

Second Department Finds Question of Fact as to Whether Plaintiff Was "Permitted to Work" Within the Meaning of the Labor Law

In Aslam v. Neighborhood Partnership Hous. Dev. Fund, the plaintiff was injured in a fall from a scaffold.  The plaintiff testified that he had received permission from his employer to work on the building, but the defendants owner and general contractor argued that plaintiff was expressly prohibited from working on the building.  The Second Department found that defendants had raised a question of fact as to whether plaintiff was "permitted or suffered to work" on the building, a requirement for the Labor Law to apply.