The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff should have been granted summary judgment on his Labor Law 240(1) cause of action. Plaintiff fell when a wooden ladder which was part of the structure of the building (for access to the attic) shifted when he attempted to step onto it:
Plaintiff’s testimony that the ladder shifted as he descended, thus causing his fall, established a prima facie violation of Labor Law § 240(1) … . The affidavit submitted by defendant averring that plaintiff had told his employer that he fell when attempting to descend the ladder using one hand as he carried tools or equipment in the other and missed a rung with his free hand, failed to refute plaintiff’s testimony that the ladder shifted and failed to create triable issues of fact that plaintiff’s actions were the sole proximate cause of the accident. Plaintiff also denies making the statement.
Further, we reject defendant’s contention that issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiff may be the sole proximate cause of the accident for failing to use the ladder, safety harness and rope provided by his employer. While the vice-president of plaintiff’s employer stated in an affidavit that safety harnesses and other safety devices were available to plaintiff, the affidavit was vague as to what other unspecified safety devices were available, to what plaintiff should have attached the harness, or whether there were any available anchorage points … . Defendant further fails to explain how a rope that was used to hoist materials to the attic area where plaintiff was working could be used as a safety device, and plaintiff’s decision to use the ladder already in place cannot be the sole proximate cause of his accident where he was never instructed not to use it … . Garcia v Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family of the City of N.Y., 2017 NY Slip Op 00239, 1st Dept 1-12-17
LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (LADDER SHIFTED, PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)/LADDERS (LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, LADDER SHIFTED, PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)/SOLE PROXIMATE CAUSE (LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, LADDER SHIFTED, PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)