The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240(1) action. After the flashing and caulking around the second-story window were removed, plaintiff was given permission to go to the bathroom and he lowered the scissors lift he was working from to the ground. The unsecured window fell and struck plaintiff on the head:
… [I]nasmuch as the record establishes that plaintiff and the supervisor were working together on the scissor lift to remove the window by prying off the metal flashing and removing the caulk, and that the supervisor then granted plaintiff permission to use the bathroom and lowered the lift to the ground while leaving the window unsecured on the second story of the building when the window was susceptible to falling, it cannot be said that plaintiff’s conduct was the sole proximate cause of the accident … . We thus conclude that plaintiff’s “conduct during the [window removal] process ‘raises, at most, an issue concerning his comparative negligence, which is not an available defense under Labor Law § 240 (1)’ ” … . Reyes v Episcopal Senior Hous. Greece, LLC, 2023 NY Slip Op 05898, Fourth Dept 11-17-23
Practice Point: Apparently because plaintiff’s supervisor gave plaintiff permission to lower the lift to go to the bathroom, leaving the second-story window he was working on unsecured, plaintiff was not the “sole proximate cause” of the accident (which would preclude Labor Law 240(1) liability). At most he was comparatively negligent, which is not a bar to summary judgment.