Nicometi V. Vineyards of Fredonia, LLC

25 N.Y.3d 90 (2015) April 2, 2015

Plaintiff was injured when he was caused to slip and fall on ice while using stilts to install insulation in a ceiling. Plaintiff and defendant moved for summary judgment on plaintiff’s §240(1) claim. The Court of Appeals held that plaintiff’s motion should have been denied and granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s §2401(1) claim. The court reasoned that the accident did not occur as a result of an elevationrelated risk but was the result of ice, which was a separate risk that required a safety device.

Practice Note: The relevant inquiry when faced with the applicability of Labor Law §240 in a stilt case is not the nature of the work being performed while using the stilts but what actually caused the plaintiff’s fall. The Court of Appeals draws a distinction between the failure of the safety device, in this case the stilts, and a hazard that is unrelated to an elevation risk.

Topics: Application of Labor Law; Elevation-Related Hazard; Gravity-Related Risk.