The Second Department determined defendants’ motions to set aside the verdict in this Labor Law 200/common law negligence action were properly denied. The court explained the level of supervision required to hold gas station subtenants liable for a forklift injury, and the criteria for setting aside a verdict:
“To be held liable under Labor Law § 200 for injuries arising from the manner in which work is performed, a defendant must have the authority to exercise supervision and control over the work” … . “A defendant has the authority to supervise or control the work for purposes of Labor Law § 200 when [the] defendant bears the responsibility for the manner in which the work [was] performed” … . “[M]ere general supervisory authority at a work site for the purpose of overseeing the progress of the work and inspecting the work product is insufficient to impose liability under Labor Law § 200” … . “If the challenged means and methods of the work are those of a subcontractor, and the owner or contractor exercises no supervisory control over the work, no liability attaches under Labor Law § 200 or the common law” … .
… “To be awarded judgment as a matter of law pursuant to CPLR 4401, a defendant must show that there is no rational process by which the jury could find for the plaintiff against the moving defendant” … . In considering a motion for judgment as a matter of law, “the trial court must afford the party opposing the motion every inference which may properly be drawn from the facts presented, and the facts must be considered in a light most favorable to the nonmovant” … . “In making this determination, a court must not engage in a weighing of the evidence,’ nor may it direct a verdict where the facts are in dispute, or where different inferences may be drawn or the credibility of witnesses is in question'” … . …
“[A] jury verdict should not be set aside as contrary to the weight of the evidence unless the jury could not have reached the verdict by any fair interpretation of the evidence” … . “Whether a jury verdict should be set aside as contrary to the weight of the evidence does not involve a question of law, but rather requires a discretionary balancing of many factors” … . The apportionment of fault among the parties is generally an issue of fact for the jury … , and the jury’s apportionment of fault should not be set aside unless it could not have been reached based upon a fair interpretation of the evidence … . Hernandez v Pappco Holding Co., Ltd., 2016 NY Slip Op 01295, 2nd Dept 2-24-16
LABOR LAW (LEVEL OF SUPERVISORY CONTROL NEEDED TO SUPPORT A LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION)/NEGLIGENCE (LEVEL OF SUPERVISORY CONTROL NEEDED TO SUPPORT A LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION)/CIVIL PROCEDURE (CRITERIA FOR SETTING ASIDE A VERDICT AS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE)/VERDICT, MOTION TO SET ASIDE (CRITERIA FOR SETTING ASIDE A VERDICT AS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE)