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November 2015

New York Team Wins Summary Judgment in Construction Case

Partner Robert Modica and Senior Counsel Ryan Sestack of Gordon & Rees's New York office obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client, an energy company. After being injured while performing maintenance work on company property, the plaintiff brought claims for violation of Sections 200, 240, and 241 of the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”), which is intended to provide heightened protection for construction workers engaged in construction activities. At the time of the incident, plaintiff was on a scaffold and slipped because of materials created by his own work. He fell onto but not entirely off of the scaffolding, thereby sustaining injuries. On summary judgment, Gordon & Rees argued that the sections of NYLL under which plaintiff filed suit were either inapplicable or not violated.
 
Specifically, Modica and Sestack argued that the company could not be held liable under Section 241 of the NYLL because no Sections of the Industrial Code applied or were violated, which is a predicate to Section 241 liability. Additionally, they argued that the plaintiff could not avail himself the protections of Section 240 because, although the incident occurred on an elevated scaffolding, his injuries did not result from an elevation-related hazard. Finally, they contended that the company did not violate Section 200 because it did not supervise or control the plaintiff’s work, and because it lacked notice of the allegedly dangerous condition.
 
In issuing its decision the court accepted all of Modica’s and Sestack’s arguments on each issue, granted the motion and dismissed the complaint.

Robert Modica
Ryan J. Sestack



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