Court Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on His Labor Law §240(1) Claim, Grants Summary Judgment for Defendants Dismissing Plaintiff’s Common Law Negligence and Labor Law §§200 and 241(6) Claims and Grants Defendants’ Third-Party Contractual Indemnification Claims Against Subcontractor

In a decision dated November 4, 2010, Justice Randy Sue Marber denied plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim, granted defendants summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claims for common law negligence and violations of Labor Law §§200 and 241(6) and granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on their third-party contractual indemnification claims against a subcontractor.  The plaintiff, an ironworker assigned to weld pour stops to an area of roof decking, claimed that he fell while walking unprotected across steel beams and wrapping welding lead (cable) around his shoulder.  The testimony demonstrated that plaintiff had two safer, alternative means of reaching his work area that would have obviated the need to walk across the beams.  He could simply have repositioned his ladder at a point that would have given him direct access to the decking or he could have used an available man lift, which he had used on prior occasions to lift himself and his materials up to the decking.  The Court denied plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law §240(1) claim finding that defendants successfully demonstrated the existence of a triable issue of fact regarding whether the plaintiff’s own ill-advised decision to walk across the beams was the sole proximate cause of the accident.  The Court found that defendants successfully established that they did not exercise supervisory direction or control over the plaintiff’s work, and dismissed plaintiff’s common law negligence and Labor Law §§200 claims.  The Court dismissed plaintiff’s Labor Law §241(6) claim because the defendants successfully established that the multiple Industrial Code Rules cited by plaintiff were either insufficient to support a cause of action, were inapplicable to the facts of the case or were simply not violated. Additionally, defendants successfully demonstrated that the purchase order with the third-party defendant subcontractor, expressly provided for the indemnification of the owner and general contractor, and that no issue of fact existed as to whether they were actively negligent such that full indemnification was appropriate. 
Rome v. North Shore Central School District, Index No. 17457/08 (Nassau Co. Sup. Ct., November 4, 2010)

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