The First Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240 (1) cause of action. A scaffold tipped and pinned his hand against a wall, and plaintiff’s actions did not constitute the sole proximate cause of the injuries:
Plaintiff is entitled to partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim. Regardless of whether plaintiff’s hand was struck by the beam of the scaffold or the counterweights placed on the scaffold, this matter falls within the purview of Labor Law § 240(1). Plaintiff’s injuries were the direct result of the application of the force of gravity to the scaffold and the counterweights, and, although the scaffold and counterweights fell a short distance after the scaffold tipped, the elevation differential was not de minimis, as their combined weight of over 2,400 pounds was capable of generating a great amount of force during the short descent … .
The scaffold was a load that required securing for the purpose of plaintiff’s undertaking … . Contrary to defendants’ contention, the counterweights were not a safety device provided to secure the equipment being tied to the bracket, but were to balance a scaffold that would later be suspended from it.
Furthermore, the record establishes, as a matter of law, that plaintiff was not the sole proximate cause of his injuries. Plaintiff and his coworker both testified that there was slack in the tieback at the time of the accident. Their foreman’s testimony that the scaffold tipped over due to overtightening of the tieback by plaintiff is speculative, as he did not witness the accident. The reports and expert affidavit submitted by defendants concluding that the accident was caused by overtightening are also speculative. In any event, even accepting the defense’s proof, it is still insufficient to raise an issue of fact as to sole proximate causation, since the record established that the scaffold tipped over in part due to being inadequately secured, raising only comparative negligence by plaintiff … . Ortega v Trinity Hudson Holding LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 07743, First Dept 10-29-19