The Fourth Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined defendant M & M was not a property owner in the context of Labor Law 240 (1) or 241 (6) and therefore was entitled to summary judgment. The Fourth Department noted that an issue on which Supreme Court reserved decision is not appealable:
For purposes of Labor Law §§ 240 (1) and 241 (6) liability, “the term owner’ is not limited to the titleholder of the property where the accident occurred and encompasses a [party] who has an interest in the property and who fulfilled the role of owner by contracting to have work performed for [its] benefit’ ” … . ” [The owner] is the party who, as a practical matter, has the right to hire or fire subcontractors and to insist that proper safety practices are followed’ ” … . “The key factor in determining whether a non-titleholder is an owner’ is the right to insist that proper safety practices were followed and it is the right to control the work that is significant, not the actual exercise or nonexercise of control’ ” … .
Here, M and M met its initial burden of establishing that it was not an owner for purposes of Labor Law §§ 240 (1) and 241 (6) because its submissions established that “it was an out-of-possession lessee of the property [that] neither contracted for nor supervised the work that brought about the injury, and had no authority to exercise any control over the specific work area that gave rise to plaintiff’s injuries’ ” … . Thompson v M & M Forwarding of Buffalo, N.Y., Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 05875, Fourth Dept 7-31-19