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Surviving Your Opponent’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Your New York Construction Accident Case

When you’re hurt on a construction job, you have several elements to your case that require attention if you are to succeed. Not only do you have to worry about presenting your strongest possible case, but also you have to focus on defeating any summary judgment motions the other side might make. In the case of a marble setter hurt hauling away equipment and supplies, he was able to do that because the evidence he had on his side indicated that he was working in a work area and in the performance of his duties, so that meant that he was allowed to pursue his Labor Law Section 241(6) case.

The plaintiff was working for a marble and tile company at a 30-story condominium-and-retail-space project in New York City. On the day of the worker’s accident, however, he wasn’t working with marble. The worker, acting upon a directive from the project supervisor, was spending that afternoon clearing equipment and supplies from a room off the main lobby. While walking backward and pulling a wheelbarrow, the worker tripped over a pile of metal studs and fell, suffering injuries as a result.

The worker filed a lawsuit, alleging that the failure to move the studs violated Section 241(6) of the Labor Law. That statutory subsection says that owners and contractors have a legal duty to “provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety for workers and to comply with the specific safety rules and regulations.”

In this case, the defendant tried unsuccessfully to obtain a summary judgment in its favor. A summary judgment would have allowed it to avoid liability and short-circuit the plaintiff’s Section 241(6) case before it ever made it to trial. The defendant made two technical attacks on the worker’s case. First, the defendant argued that the room in which the plaintiff was working was a storage area, rather than a work area as defined by the statute, so Section 241(6) didn’t apply. The defendant also argued that, since the plaintiff was a marble setter but was hauling equipment and supplies when he was hurt, he was not injured in the course of his job.

Both of these arguments failed, both in the trial court and before the Appellate Division. With regard to the character of the room in which the plaintiff was hurt, the plaintiff testified that construction was going to take place there, and the supervisor testified that construction was going to take place there. Moreover, the reason the supervisor ordered the plaintiff to haul away the equipment and supplies in the room was so that construction could take place there. Under those circumstances and with that proof, the room clearly qualified as a work area. The courts also concluded that, even though the plaintiff was a marble setter and was hurt doing something other than setting marble, under the circumstances presented in this case, the man’s “activities bring him within the ambit of the statute.”

If you’ve been hurt working on a construction project, you may have a claim for damages based upon the harm you suffered in your accident. You need skilled counsel familiar with taking on construction accident cases. The determined Queens construction accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have represented many injured workers over the years and have the experience and resources to help you as you assert your rights. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Carpenter Injured Working on New York School Project Secures Favorable Ruling from Appellate Division, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 19, 2017

New York Appellate Division Upholds Ruling for Construction Worker in Madison Square Garden Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 19, 2017

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