The Court of Appeals, reversing the Appellate Division, over a three-judge dissenting opinion, determined plaintiff in this Labor Law 240(1) ladder-fall case should not have been awarded summary judgment. Plaintiff used an A-frame ladder in a closed position because of limited space. While rerouting pipes in the ceiling, plaintiff received an electric shock and fell to the floor. The majority found questions of fact were raised about whether the ladder failed to protect plaintiff and whether other safety devices should have been provided:
An “accident alone” is insufficient to establish a violation of Labor Law § 240 (1) or causation … . Moreover, Labor Law § 240 (1) is designed to protect against “harm directly flowing from the application of the force of gravity to an object or person” … . We agree with the dissent below that plaintiff was not entitled to partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240 (1) claim … . Indeed, questions of fact exist as to whether “the ladder failed to provide proper protection,” whether “plaintiff should have been provided with additional safety devices,” and whether the ladder’s purported inadequacy or the absence of additional safety devices was a proximate cause of plaintiff’s accident … . Cutaia v Board of Mgrs. of the 160/170 Varick St. Condominium, 2022 NY Slip Op 02834, CtApp 4-28-22
Practice Point: Here plaintiff was apparently electrocuted while standing on a closed A-frame ladder and fell to the floor. The happening of the accident alone did not establish that the ladder failed to protect plaintiff or that other safety equipment should have been provided to plaintiff. Therefore plaintiff was not entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240(1) cause of action. There was a three-judge dissenting opinion.