Scaffold Law Reform News
Scaffold Law Increases Injuries, costs billions
- Published on 05 June 2015
In today's Buffalo News, Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, writes that the data on safety shows that labor unions should support, not oppose, Scaffold Law reform.
One detail never mentioned in disingenuous defenses of New York’s odious Scaffold Law (“No need to forfeit safety to add jobs,” May 29 letter) is that New York is the only state that still has such a law. No other state imposes absolute liability on contractors who may have, to quote the state’s highest court: “had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s accident.” No other state still has such a standard because it is patently unfair, costs billions and makes work sites less safe.
The most frequently used argument against reform is the fraudulent claim that the law protects workers. If the Scaffold Law improved safety, shouldn’t New York lead in safety? We don’t. Shouldn’t other states have dramatically higher injury rates? They don’t. The Buffalo News even conducted its own investigation and found that “the Scaffold Law does nothing of note to make the state any safer for construction workers than other states.”
In fact, a study based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that the presence of the Scaffold Law actually increases construction injuries in New York by an estimated 667 per year.
Physics? Who needs that!
- Published on 15 May 2015
As if we needed another reminder of the utter absurdity – and often downright insanity - of the Scaffold Law…
Yesterday, the First Department Appellate Division issued a decision in Strojek v. 33 East 70th Street Corp., that will leave anyone with even a shred of common sense shaking their head in disbelief.
In Strojek, the plaintiff, and asbestos remediation worker, fell and was injured when his portable scaffold tipped over. His lawyers moved for summary judgement, meaning that there was no need for a liability trial because there were no conceivable set of conditions under which the defendants could avoid liability. Remember, it’s the Scaffold Law – injury: check; gravity: check; liability: slam dunk. The trial court agreed, and the defendants appealed. The Appellate court upheld the ruling.
Court of Appeals Giveth - and Taketh Away
- Published on 08 May 2015
In today's New York Law Journal, Brian J. Shoot explores the implications of two recent Court of Appeals Scaffold Law rulings.
In his Construction Accident Litigation column, Brian J. Shoot writes: On April 2, the Court of Appeals rendered two rulings that related to Labor Law §240, one unanimously deeming the statute applicable; in the other, a non-unanimous court deemed the statute inapplicable. As is almost invariably the case with Court of Appeals decisions concerning the oft-litigated "scaffold law," each ruling forces us to consider how it will impact future dispositions.