The Court of Appeals, in a full-fledged opinion by Judge DiFiore, over a three-judge dissenting opinion, determined plaintiff’s summary judgment motion on his Labor Law 240(1) cause of action should not have been granted. Plaintiff fell down a temporary steel staircase which was wet from rain. There were conflicting expert affidavits about the safety of the stairs:
To the extent the Appellate Division opinion below can be read to say that a statutory violation occurred merely because plaintiff fell down the stairs, it does not provide an accurate statement of the law. As we have made clear, the fact that a worker falls at a construction site, in itself, does not establish a violation of Labor Law § 240 (1) … . Moreover, the present case is distinguishable from “cases involving ladders or scaffolds that collapse or malfunction for no apparent reason” where we have applied “a presumption that the ladder or scaffolding device was not good enough to afford proper protection” … .
Here, by contrast, there are questions of fact as to whether the staircase provided adequate protection. As noted above, defendants’ expert opined that the staircase was designed to allow for outdoor use and to provide necessary traction in inclement weather. Moreover, defendants’ expert opined that additional anti-slip measures were not warranted. In addition, he disputed the assertions by plaintiff’s expert that the staircase was worn down or that it was unusually narrow or steep. In light of the above, plaintiff was not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of liability. O’Brien v Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 2017 NY Slip Op 02466, CtApp 3-30-17