Scaffold Law Reform News
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.
Court of Appeals holds City, MTA Liable for Manhole Fall
- Published on 07 May 2015
In today's Capital New York, Luca Marzorati provides an in-depth look at the Court of Appeals most recent - and troubling - Scaffold Law decision. This case illustrates just how difficult it is to plead the defense of "sole proximate cause."
A divided New York State Court of Appeals found that New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the New York City Transit Authority were liable in the fall of an asbestos-removal worker through an uncovered manhole in January 2005.
The case, Barreto v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, had been dismissed by two lower courts before being heard by the state's highest court in February.
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge and a divided Appellate Division had previously ruled that the worker had caused injury because he disregarded his supervisor's instructions to close the manhole cover before dismantling the construction enclosure, and that the proper safety equipment—in this case, the manhole cover—had been provided.
In a majority opinion written by Judge Eugene Pigott, and joined by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Judge Jenny Rivera, and Judge Eugene Fahey, the court found in favor of the worker.