Although New York's courts have undoubtedly been trending towards the curtailment of owner liability for construction site accidents (see, e.g., "New York Construction Site Accidents: Why Fewer Cases Are Succeeding"), there are cases that still fall squarely within the ambit of the worker safety statutes, namely New York Labor Law sections 200, 240(1) and 241.
Katouchis v. Jeport Hotel Corp. is one such case.
In this construction site accident, the plaintiff was working for a painting contractor and sustained serious personal injuries when he fell roughly 13 feet to the floor from the defendant property owner's "A" frame ladder.
Here's the interesting point, however: apparently, the plaintiff had complained to the owners that this ladder was defective, but they refused to give him another ladder, indicating that this was the only available one, and insisted that he use it.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the court held in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the defendants had failed to fulfill their duty to protect their workers from gravity-related dangers, as required by Labor Law 240(1).
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