The Second Department determined the defendant property owner was entitled to the homeowners’ exemption from liability under the Labor Law, despite the fact that the residence included an office used for defendant’s business:
Owners of one- or two-family dwellings are exempt from liability under Labor Law § 241(6) unless they directed or controlled the work being performed … . “The exception was enacted to protect those people who, lacking business sophistication, would not know or anticipate the need to obtain insurance to cover them against the absolute liability”… .
… [T]he use of a portion of the defendant’s residence for commercial purposes did not automatically cause him to lose the protection of the exemption. The presence of an office in the basement did not detract from the building’s primary use as a residence, and the defendant’s commercial activity was incidental thereto … .
… The defendant’s alleged discussion with the injured plaintiff about the scope of the project and the defendant’s request to install a shelf and support beam were insufficient to transform the defendant from a legitimately concerned homeowner into a de facto supervisor, because these acts, without any specific direction as to how the injured plaintiff was to accomplish his tasks, do not constitute direction or control over the manner or method of the injured plaintiff’s work … . Levy v Baumgarten, 2017 NY Slip Op 00963, 2nd Dept 2-8-17
LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (BASEMENT OFFICE DID NOT CAUSE DEFENDANT TO LOSE THE HOMEOWNER’S EXEMPTION TO LIABILITY UNDER THE LABOR LAW)/HOMEOWNER’S EXEMPTION (LABOR LAW, BASEMENT OFFICE DID NOT CAUSE DEFENDANT TO LOSE THE HOMEOWNER’S EXEMPTION TO LIABILITY UNDER THE LABOR LAW)