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No Summary Judgement for Barn Fall

 Summary Judgment Not Appropriate on Labor Law Claim for Worker's Fall from Barn Rafters:

 

 

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker who fell from the rafters of a barn that was under construction was not entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim.

 

Case: Ortman v. Logsdon, No. 517956, 10/23/2014, published.

 

Facts: James Logsdon owns a 65-acre parcel in Madison County known as Saddleback Farm.

 

In May 2010, he hired Ralph Colvin to construct a pole barn on the property, which he uses to run a horseboarding

business. Colvin then hired Jerry Ortman to help build the barn.

 

Ortman fell from a height of approximately 30 feet while working in the rafters of the barn.

 

Procedural History: Ortman sued Logsdon and Saddleback Farm for negligence and violations of Labor Law Sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6).

 

Ortman also moved for summary judgment as to the issue of liability on his Section 240(1) claim.

 

Madison County Supreme Court Justice Dennis K. McDermott denied this motion, and Ortman appealed.

 

Analysis: For Ortman to have been entitled to summary judgment, the Appellate Division's 3rd Department said he had to establish that he was not provided with proper safety devices (or that the devices actually furnished were inadequate) and that such failure was the proximate cause of his injuries as a matter of law.

 

Based on its review of the record, the court said it saw triable questions of fact as to how the accident occurred and the availability, feasibility and adequacy of certain safety devices at the work site.

 

Accordingly, the court concluded summary judgment would have been inappropriate.

 

Disposition: Affirmed.

 

To read the decision, click here.

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