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Summary Judgment Reversed - Worker's Injury, Worker's Fall from Ladder, Should be Heard by J

Worker's Injury, Worker's Fall from Ladder, Should be Heard by Jury

Injuries and accidents can occur most anywhere. Certain injuries can be life changing and one should speak to an attorney, not an infomercial transferring you to a radio operator, if someone suffers from an injury whether on the street, in a store or working on the job. For hardworking men and women, it is of vital importance that an employer, construction site manager, or person responsible for overseeing the work make sure that the worker is protected. Safety equipment and complying with the law (including but not limited to the industrial code) is not an option and may subject an employer to harsh penalties for violations that result in injuries. Work place injuries are all too common and can be prevented before someone suffers a workplace accident resulting in irreversible damage.

Plaintiff here, the person injured by falling from a ladder, was described as someone employed as an electrician. Plaintiff was working on a church for about ten days before he was on a ladder and fell, injuring himself:

Plaintiff testified that as he descended from the attic on a wooden ladder, which was permanently affixed to the wall, the ladder shifted. Specifically, plaintiff testified that as he attempted to descend the ladder, he reached for it and placed his right hand and foot on it, but it moved away from him, causing him to fall headfirst to the choir loft, some 12 to 17 feet below. He further testified that he did not have anything in his hands as he was coming down the ladder. According to plaintiff, the ladder was attached to the wall in a jerry-rigged fashion, connected at the top to a joist beam with grey metal wires. The ladder went up the wall of the choir loft/mezzanine to an access point for the attic of the church. The church's pastor testified that he guessed the ladder had been there since the church had been built 150 years ago.

In denying the motion for summary judgment, the Court finds that "The affidavit submitted by defendant averring that plaintiff had told his employer that he fell when attempting to descend the ladder using one hand as he carried tools or equipment in the other and missed a rung with his free hand, failed to refute plaintiff's testimony that the ladder shifted and failed to create triable issues of fact that plaintiff's actions were the sole proximate cause of the accident. Plaintiff also denies making the statement." The Appellate Court (1st Department) rejects this.

The Supreme Court improperly denied the Plaintiff's claim alleging a Labor Law Section 240 violation; the claim should be heard by a jury. "Plaintiff's testimony that the ladder shifted as he descended, thus causing his fall, established a prima facie violation of Labor Law § 240 (1)" Id. (citing Hart v Turner Constr. Co., 30 AD3d 213, 214 [1st Dept 2006]; see also Picano v Rockefeller Ctr. N., Inc., 68 AD3d 425 [1st Dept 2009]; Montalvo v J. Petrocelli Constr., Inc., 8 AD3d 173, 174 [1st Dept 2004])).The case is Garcia v Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family of the City of N.Y.

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