The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240 (1) cause of action. Plaintiff was injured when a heavy roll of wire fell as it was being moved up a ramp made of planks in a loading area:
Plaintiff established entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability where he was injured during the course of his employment when a reel of electrical wire weighing 500 to 1,000 pounds fell and struck his foot. Workers were rolling the reel up two wooden planks for loading onto a van when it fell, and although there are questions as to whether plaintiff was actually involved in moving the reel, plaintiff demonstrated that he sustained injuries from the falling reel due to absence of an adequate safety device… .
Defendants and third-party defendants (collectively defendants) fail to raise a triable issue of fact. They contend that issues exist as to whether a forklift was available onsite, and whether plaintiff was a recalcitrant worker for failing to use it despite being aware of it… . However, even if a forklift was available and plaintiff was aware of it, defendants have not offered evidence showing that he was actually instructed to use it… . Rather, it is undisputed that plaintiff’s foreman had instructed the workers to move the reel as they did, and to the extent defendants rely on the testimony of plaintiff’s employer that plaintiff was not to blindly follow the foreman’s instructions, such overlooks the realities of construction work … .
Nor is there a triable issue as to whether plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of the accident. Even assuming that plaintiff did assist in moving the reel and in the course of doing so, removed his hand from the reel, such was not the sole proximate cause of the accident, as he was not provided with an adequate safety device to hoist the reel in the first instance … .
The contention that Labor Law § 240(1) is inapplicable because the loading of the reel did not fall within the scope of construction work, is unavailing. Although it was not actual construction work, and occurred in the loading area of the construction site, it was still part of the construction project … . Gutierrez v 451 Lexington Realty LLC, 2017 NY Slip Op 08475, First Dept 12-5-17
LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (PLAINTIFF ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240 (1) CAUSE OF ACTION, HEAVY ROLL OF WIRE FELL BECAUSE OF ABSENCE OF A SAFETY DEVICE (FIRST DEPT))