The First Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the Labor Law 240 (1) cause of action should not have been granted. Plaintiff alleged a permanently affixed ladder in an elevator shaft vibrated causing him to fall to the floor of the shaft:
… [W]hile an unsecured ladder that moves or shifts constitutes a prima facie violation of Labor Law § 240(1) … , the ladder from which plaintiff fell was secured to the structure, and, other than allegedly vibrating, it did not move, shift or sway. Under the circumstances, an issue of fact exists whether the secured, permanently affixed ladder that allegedly vibrated provided proper protection for plaintiff.
The record demonstrates, contrary to defendants’ contention, that at the time of his accident plaintiff was performing not routine maintenance but repair work, which falls within the protective ambit of Labor Law § 240(1) … . The work in which plaintiff was engaged occurred over the course of weeks, if not longer, and its purpose was to correct the unguarded condition of traveling cables that caused the cables to strike other objects within the elevator shafts … . …
Defendants failed to establish that plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his accident, as they submitted no evidence that plaintiff knew that he was supposed to use a harness for climbing ladders or that he disregarded “specific instructions” to do so . Further, to the extent the ladder failed to provide proper protection, plaintiff’s failure to use a harness amounts at most to comparative negligence, which is not a defense to a Labor Law § 240(1) claim … . Kehoe v 61 Broadway Owner LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op 04900, First Dept 9-3-20