The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment in this Labor Law 240(1) action. Plaintiff alleged he fell into a ditch which was covered by a tarp. That there were no witnesses to the incident did not require denial of summary judgment. The allegation plaintiff could have taken a different route raised an issue of comparative negligence which is not a bar to summary judgment on a Labor Law 240(1) cause of action:
Defendants … failed to raise an issue of fact as to whether plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his accident. Defendants contend that plaintiff chose to use a bathroom further away from his workstation and attempted to cross over the ditch without first inspecting the covering that had replaced the plank before stepping on it. However, these circumstances still demonstrate that plaintiff’s accident was the result of the absence of a safety device, and raise only an issue as to plaintiff’s comparative negligence, which is not a defense to a Labor Law § 240(1) claim … .
The fact that plaintiff was the only witness to his accident does not preclude summary judgment in his favor, as nothing in the record controverted his account of the accident or called into question his credibility … . Sotelo v TRM Contr., LP, 2023 NY Slip Op 00190, First Dept 1-17-23
Practice Point: Plaintiff fell into a ditch covered by a tarp. He was entitled to summary judgment on the Labor Law 240(1) cause of action despite the fact he was the only witness to the incident and despite the allegation he could have taken a different route (comparative negligence in not a bar to summary judgment on a Labor Law 240(1) cause of action).