The Second Department, modifying Supreme Court, determined: (1) plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240 (1) cause of action stemming from his being struck by an unsecured heating duct during demolition; and (2) defendants (appellants) were not entitled to summary judgment dismissing the Labor Law 241 (6) cause of action premised on plaintiff’s failure to wear a hard hat:
With respect to falling objects, liability is not limited to cases in which the falling object is in the process of being hoisted or secured … . Rather, “a plaintiff must show that the object fell . . . because of the absence or inadequacy of a safety device of the kind enumerated in the statute” … . “To succeed on a cause of action under Labor Law § 240(1), a plaintiff must establish that the defendant violated its duty and that the violation proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries” … . The burden then shifts to the defendant to raise a triable issue of fact … . A worker’s comparative negligence is not a defense to a cause of action under Labor Law § 240(1) … . Rather, only where the worker’s own conduct is the sole proximate cause of the accident is recovery under Labor Law § 240(1) unavailable … .
Here, the plaintiff established his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on his Labor Law § 240(1) cause of action insofar as asserted against the owner and the general contractor by submitting evidence that while he was engaged in demolition work, he was injured when an unsecured HVAC duct fell and hit him, causing him to fall to the ground … . …
“In order to prevail on a Labor Law § 241(6) cause of action premised upon a violation of 12 NYCRR 23-1.8(c)(1), the plaintiff must establish that the job was a hard hat job, and that the plaintiff’s failure to wear a hard hat was a proximate cause of his injury” … . Here, the appellants failed to establish, prima facie, that this was not a hard hat job, and that the plaintiff’s lack of head protection did not play a role in the injuries he sustained when he was struck by the falling object. Aguilar v Graham Terrace, LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op 04906, Second Dept 9-16-20