Court of Claims Denies Claimant’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Pursuant to Labor Law §§240(1) and 241(6) Because There Was a Question of Fact Regarding Whether Claimant’s Actions Were the Sole Proximate Cause of His Accident

The defendants successfully defended the claimant ironworker’s motion for summary judgment pursuant to Labor Law §240(1) and §241(6) predicated upon an alleged violation of Industrial Code Rule 23-1.16(b) (safety belts, harnesses, tail lines and lifelines: attachment required).  Although the Court of Claims found that the claimant, who allegedly fell 10 feet to the ground while walking along a steel girder, established a prima facie case that he was not provided with the proper protection, the Court held that there was a question of fact as to whether the claimant was the sole proximate cause of his accident. The defendants proffered evidence that the claimant was required to undergo fall protection training, was supplied with harnesses, lanyards and other safety equipment and knew that he was required to use this equipment. The claimant also should have remained tied off, climbed to the ground and untied, walked along the ground to the other side of the girder, tied off and climbed to the area where he was to continue his work. His failure to remain tied off at all times while at a height raised an issue of fact regarding whether his actions were the sole proximate cause of the accident.

Mell v. The State of New York et al., Index No. 114870 (Court of Claims, December 30, 2010)

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