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Dismissive Claim

State: NY


Summary Dismissal Warranted for Worker's Trip and Fall Claim:


A New York worker's claim based on a trip and fall at a construction site failed as a matter of law against the defendants who neither created nor had actual or constructive notice of the allegedly dangerous condition which led to the worker's accident.


Case: Rodriguez v. Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, Nos. 9541 8246/05 84849/05 85954/07, 03/19/2013, published.


Facts: Jose Rodriguez tripped on a scaffold clamp that had been left on the floor of a construction site while carrying boxes and fell, injuring himself. He sued the construction manager for the project and others for negligence and violations of Labor Law Sections 200 and 241(6).


Procedural History: Bronx County Supreme Court Justice John A. Barone denied the defendants' motions to dismiss Rodriguez's complaint.


Analysis: The Appellate Division's 1st Department explained that since the accident was allegedly caused by a dangerous condition on the premises, the defendants had the burden of proving they neither created nor had actual or constructive notice of the condition.


The court said there was evidence that the Enclos Corp.'s employees had created the hazard, so it was not entitled to summary judgment on Rodriguez's negligence and Section 200 claims.


However, the court said Rodriguez's testimony that he had seen similar hazards on the floor on the day of the accident was insufficient to establish that the remaining defendants knew, or should have known, about the clamp that he tripped over, especially in the absence of any evidence indicating how long the specific clamp that caused his fall had been in the location of his accident.


The court said the defendants were also entitled to summary dismissal of Rodriguez's Section 241(6) claims that were premised on Industrial Code regulations for passageways and foreign substances.


The court also said the construction manager for the project was the functional equivalent of a general contractor and so it could still be held liable for a violation of 241(6) despite its job title.


Disposition: Reversed in part.


To read the decision, click here.


Source:  WorkCompCentral

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