The Second Department determined Supreme Court properly granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the Labor Law 240(1) cause of action. Plaintiff fell off an inverted bucket when he was installing stacked washers and dryers. Defendant demonstrated plaintiff did not need to elevate himself to do the work:
According to the plaintiff, on the day at issue, he was standing on an inverted bucket in order to reach the power cable for the stacked washer dryer unit that he had just pushed into the closet before he had plugged in the power cable. The plaintiff contended that the power cable was resting on top of the dryer and was out of reach, and that the washer dryer unit, although on wheels, was difficult to move, so he stood on an inverted bucket to reach the power cable. The plaintiff alleged that the bucket slipped out from under him and he fell and was injured. …
… [T]he plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his injuries because his conduct unnecessarily exposed him to an elevation-related risk … . The plaintiff’s deposition testimony … established that a ladder was not necessary for the plaintiff to do his work. The plaintiff testified that each of the stacked washer and dryer units that he was installing was on wheels and not secured within the closet in which they were being installed. … [P]rior to the incident, he had installed approximately 20 stacked washer and dryer units without using a ladder. … [W]ith respect to the unit he was installing on the day at issue, in order to reach the power cable, he could have moved the stacked washer and dryer out of the closet rather than stand on an inverted bucket, but he chose not to do so. Morales v 50 N. First Partners, LLC, 2022 NY Slip Op 04801, Second Dept 8-3-22
Practice Point: In this unusual Labor Law 240(1) action, the defendants demonstrated plaintiff did not need to stand on an inverted bucket to do his job. Therefore plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his fall (from the bucket) and defendants were entitled to summary judgment.