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Court Revives Dock Builder's Claim

 Court Revives Dock Builder's Claims Based on Fall on Floating Work Platform:



A New York appellate court revived a dock builder's negligence and Labor Law claims based on his alleged fall while on a floating work platform.


Case: Harkin v. County of Nassau, No. 2013-00158, 10/22/2014, published.


Facts: Matthew J. Harkin worked for Newborn Construction as a dock builder. He allegedly injured himself while working on a floating work platform at the Wantagh Park Marina, which was owned by the County of Nassau.


Procedural History: Harkin sued the county for negligence connected with his accident and alleged violations of Labor Law Sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6).


The county moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, and Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas P. Phelan granted the motion.


Analysis: The Appellate Division's 2nd Department said that Phelan erred in dismissing Harkin's claims.


The court said his Section 200 and common-law negligence claims should have survived summary judgment because the county had not eliminated all the triable issues of fact as to whether it owned the allegedly defective floating work platform from which Harkin had fallen.


The court also found there were triable issues as to whether the county had violated any safety requirements for the use of scaffolds as a predicate to finding a violation of Section 241(6).


Finally, the court said the fact that Harkin only fell part of the way through the floating work platform, and not all the way into the water, didn't mean he wasn't exposed to an elevation-related risk of harm. Thus the court said Harkin should have been allowed to proceed with his Section 240(1) claim as well.


Disposition: Reversed.


To read the decision, click here.

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