Court Dismisses Complaint and All Cross-Claims Against General Contractor

In a decision dated October 4, 2017, Justice Paul J. Baisley, Jr. granted our client, Manhattan Business Interiors, summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint against it together with all cross-claims. The plaintiff, a Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at CUNY Queens College, alleged that on October 31, 2011, he fell partially into a two-foot wide “scenery trench” located at the back of the stage of the Goldstein Theatre while attempting to dodge a pile of wood debris. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff claims that he was taking part in a walk-through of the theatre which was in the process of being renovated.  The City University Construction Fund hired LiRo Program and Construction Management, P.C. to act as the construction manager in connection with the renovation of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts Complex at Queens College.  LiRo in turn contracted with MBI to perform general contracting work at the project including renovations to the Goldstein Theatre.  MBI hired more than one dozen subcontractors for the project. In dismissing plaintiff’s Labor Law §240(1) claim, the Court held that the plaintiff did not sustain injuries resulting from an elevation-related hazard. The Court also found that the plaintiff was not entitled to the protections of Labor Law §241(6) as he was neither employed by a contractor retained to perform a covered activity nor was he permitted or suffered to carry out such an activity in relation to the subject renovation project. Further, the activity he was engaged in at the time of the accident, namely his inspection of a water leak, was consistent with the type of routine maintenance he would be expected to carry out as a janitorial superintendent.  Plaintiff’s Labor Law §200 and common law negligence causes of action were also dismissed because MBI neither created the hazardous condition nor had actual or constructive notice of it.

Mandart v. MBI Construction, Inc. et al., Index No. 26654/12 (Suffolk Co. Sup. Ct., Oct. 4, 2017)

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