In Velasco, the plaintiff sustained injuries after falling from a ladder; the defendants argued that the ladder was not defective, and also that the only cause of the accident was the plaintiff's own negligence in helping to set up the ladder in soil and then using it even though he knew that his co-worker was not holding it. The court held that the defendants' argument "overlooked plaintiff's evidence that no safety devices were provided to protect him in the event the ladder slipped" (Velasco, 8 AD3d at 89).Summary of this case from Quick v. N.Y. Dormitory Auth. of State of N.Y.
Decided June 10, 2004.
Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Alexander W. Hunter, Jr., J.), entered February 9, 2004, which, in an action for personal injuries sustained in a fall from a ladder, inter alia, granted plaintiff's cross motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of defendants property owners' liability under Labor Law § 240(1), unanimously affirmed, without costs.
Faust Goetz Schenker Blee LLP, New York (Kirl C. Frances of counsel), for appellants.
Robert C. Fontanelli, P.C., Brooklyn (Andrew S. Targum of counsel), for respondent.
Before: Tom, J.P., Saxe, Ellerin, Williams, Gonzalez, JJ.
Defendants argue that the ladder was in no way defective, and that the only cause of the accident was plaintiff's own negligence in helping to set up the ladder in soil and then using it even though he knew that his co-worker was not holding it. The argument overlooks plaintiff's evidence that no safety devices were provided to protect him in the event the ladder slipped. Given an unsecured ladder and no other safety devices, plaintiff cannot be held solely to blame for his injuries ( see Davis v. Selina Dev. Corp., 302 A.D.2d 304, 305; Bonanno v. Port Auth., 298 A.D.2d 269, 270; cf. Blake v. Neighborhood Hous. Servs., 1 N.Y.3d 280, 290). Plaintiff's use of the ladder without his co-worker present amounted, at most, to comparative negligence, which is not a defense to a section 240(1) claim ( see Hernandez v. 151 Sullivan Tenant Corp., 307 A.D.2d 207, 208). In addition, the work that plaintiff's employer was hired to perform — replacing loose and broken slate roof tiles, cleaning gutters, installing new flashing cement, installing new copper flashing and repairing a roof leak — was not, as defendants argue, routine maintenance for which section 240(1) affords no protection, but rather "alteration" work as to which the statute applies ( see Faulkner v. Allied Manor Road Co., 306 A.D.2d 224). Nor does it avail defendants to argue that the specific work plaintiff was performing at the time of his accident — waterproofing windows and roof water channels with sealant — was not a necessary and integral part of the completion of the roof repair work that plaintiff's employer was hired to perform; it suffices that plaintiff was performing his task while the alteration work was still ongoing ( see Martinez v. City of New York, 93 N.Y.2d 322, 326; Campisi v. Epos Contr. Corp., 299 A.D.2d 4, 6, 8). We have considered and rejected defendants' other arguments.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.