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Another Labor Law Victory

 State: NY


Worker Prevails on Claim for Injuries after Jumping from Balcony


A worker who fell while attempting to jump from a balcony to a scaffold was entitled to judgment in his favor on his Labor Law claim.


Case: Olea v. Overlook Towers Corporation, Nos. 9976 17459/07 84106/10, 05/02/2013, published.


Facts: Hugo Olea fell while attempting to jump from a balcony onto a scaffold at a construction jobsite.


Olea sued the various parties responsible for maintaining the jobsite for violations of Labor Law Section 240(1), and the defendants moved for dismissal of his claim, asserting Olea's actions had been the sole proximate cause of his accident.


Procedural History: Bronx County Supreme Court Judge Betty Owen Stinson granted the defense motion.


Analysis: The Appellate Division's 1st Department noted that the trial testimony established that it was customary for the workers at the jobsite to get to and from the scaffold by jumping from a nearby balcony, just like Olea was attempting to do.


The court said it was unclear whether safety lines were available at the time of the accident and whether Olea had been instructed to use them.


Even if Olea had been negligent in failing to use another means of access to the scaffold, the court said his negligence was not the sole cause of his fall. One of the defendants admitted that it would have been safer to provide ladders to the workers who needed to access the scaffold, but ladders were not provided.


Based on this evidence, the court concluded that the defendants violated Section 240(1) by failing to provide an adequate safety device to Olea as a matter of law.


Disposition: Reversed.


To read the decision, click here.


Source: WorkCompCentral

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