The First Department determined defendant architect’s (Cannon’s) motion for summary judgment in this personal injury case was properly denied. Plaintiff was injured when an angle iron used to support part of a boiler system struck him on the head. Cannon argued it did not have any responsibility for the use of the angle iron as a support, which was placed there by a third party. However Cannon approved the boiler system and therefore may have been responsible for the defect which resulted in the need for the angle-iron support. Therefore the placement of the angle iron may not have been a superseding cause of the injury:
… [A]ccording to Cannon, even if it was negligent in its review of the component list or in its inspections of the ongoing work, any such negligence was not a proximate cause of the accident, because the installation of angle irons, which it never approved, and the failure of DASNY [building owner] and Martin [HVAC contractor} to heed its remediation recommendation for eight months before the accident occurred were intervening superseding causes.
“When a question of proximate cause involves an intervening act, liability turns upon whether the intervening act is a normal or foreseeable consequence of the situation created by the defendant’s negligence'” … . “The mere fact that other persons share some responsibility for plaintiff’s harm does not absolve defendant from liability because there may be more than one proximate cause of an injury'” … . Here, a jury could reasonably conclude that the effort to reinforce the cleanout port covers with angle irons was a normal and foreseeable consequence of the alleged inadequacy of the covers, which Cannon either approved or failed to detect, and which Cannon’s principal acknowledged were not the proper covers. Thus, under the circumstances presented in this case, there remain triable issues of fact as to whether, inter alia, the use of the angle iron bracing, as well as DASNY and Martin’s failure to replace the covers, despite notice from Cannon, constituted superseding causes of plaintiff’s injuries … . Demetro v Dormitory Auth. of the State of N.Y., 2019 NY Slip Op 01642, First Dept 3-7-19