The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on his Labor Law 240(10 cause of action should have been granted. Plaintiff had been hired to install wood paneling. Speakers were removed from wall to install the paneling. Plaintiff was standing on an A-frame ladder, replacing one of the speakers when the ladder swayed and he fell. The Second Department held that plaintiff was engaged in “altering,” a covered activity, and the allegation that the ladder swayed was sufficient to link the fall to a failure of a safety device (failure to secure the ladder):
Although the defendant contends that the act of rehanging a speaker does not constitute the “altering” of a building or structure, “[t]he intent of [Labor Law § 240(1)] was to protect workers employed in the enumerated acts, even while performing duties ancillary to those acts” … . The plaintiff was injured while rehanging a speaker that he and his coworkers had removed to enable them to install the wood paneling and, therefore, we conclude that the plaintiff was injured while performing work that was “ancillary to” a covered activity, entitling him to the protections afforded by Labor Law § 240(1) … . “To myopically focus on a job title or the plaintiff’s activities at the moment of the injury would be to ignore the totality of the circumstances in which the plaintiff and his employer were engaged in contravention of the spirit of the statute which requires a liberal construction in order to accomplish its purpose of protecting workers” … .
Further, the plaintiff established, prima facie, the existence of a violation of Labor Law § 240(1) that was a substantial factor in causing his injuries … . “A fall from a ladder, by itself, is not sufficient to impose liability under Labor Law § 240(1). There must be evidence that the subject ladder was defective or inadequately secured and that the defect, or the failure to secure the ladder, was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries” … . Here, the plaintiff’s proof established that the ladder from which he fell was inadequately secured to provide him with proper protection, and that the failure to secure the ladder was a proximate cause of his injuries … . Goodwin v Dix Hills Jewish Ctr., 2016 NY Slip Op 07293, 2nd Dept 11-9-16
LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (REPLACING A SPEAKER IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTALLING PANELING CONSTITUTED ALTERING, ALLEGATION THE LADDER SWAYED SUFFICIENT TO DEMONSTRATE THE FAILURE TO SECURE THE LADDER CAUSED THE FALL)/ALTERING (LABOR LAW 240(1), REPLACING A SPEAKER IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTALLING PANELLING CONSTITUTED ALTERING, ALLEGATION THE LADDER SWAYED SUFFICIENT TO DEMONSTRATE THE FAILURE TO SECURE THE LADDER CAUSED THE FALL)/LADDERS (LABOR LAW 240(1), REPLACING A SPEAKER IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTALLING PANELLING CONSTITUTED ALTERING, ALLEGATION THE LADDER SWAYED SUFFICIENT TO DEMONSTRATE THE FAILURE TO SECURE THE LADDER CAUSED THE FALL)