The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined there were questions of fact whether a plywood ramp was a dangerous condition and whether the defendants had constructive knowledge of the ramp in this Labor Law 200 action. Plaintiff allegedly tripped and fell when carrying a pipe down the ramp:
Defendants established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the causes of action alleging a violation of Labor Law § 200 and common-law negligence by demonstrating that they did not have authority to supervise or control the means and methods of plaintiff’s work. However, to the extent those causes of action are also predicated on the existence of a dangerous or defective condition (a defective plywood ramp), triable issues of fact remain as to whether the owner or general contractor had actual or constructive notice … . Defendants’ witnesses all testified to a lack of knowledge of the plywood ramp, thereby establishing lack of actual notice. However, plaintiff raised a triable issue as to constructive notice by his deposition testimony and affidavit that he had seen the plywood ramp in place when he began working at the construction site, although he never traversed it prior to his accident, which occurred months into his work, and that defendants’ trailers were located only 30 to 50 feet from where plaintiff’s accident occurred. Contrary to defendants’ insinuations, the number of witnesses contradicting plaintiff’s account is not a basis for granting them summary judgment; it merely raises issues of credibility for the fact-finder. Jackson v Hunter Roberts Constr., L.L.C., 2022 NY Slip Op 03321, First Dept 5-19-22
Practice Point: The First Department in this Labor Law 200 action noted that a conflict between the plaintiff’s testimony and several of defendants’ witnesses on the issue of constructive notice of the allegedly dangerous condition which caused plaintiff’s slip and fall was not a sufficient ground for granting defendants’ summary judgment motion. The conflict merely raised a credibility issue for trial which is not appropriately determined at the summary judgment stage.