CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS

We have defended owners, general contractors, and subcontractors successfully in claims under Labor Law §§240 and 241 for over forty five years. The decision we won in Stabile v. Christy & Viner,[*39] is the leading case on the issue of unsigned construction indemnity agreements.

In the case of Ryder v. Tarrs Home Improvement[*40] the plaintiff established at trial that he fell from a ladder. Despite what seemed like overwhelming evidence of violation of the Labor Law, Marguerite Peck persuaded the jury that there was no violation of the Labor Law since there was insufficient proof that the ladder was defective.

Marguerite Peck obtained a defense verdict in a Labor Law §240 case in an action arising out of a fall into a trench at a construction site where plaintiff claimed his fall was due to improper shoring and ladders (Getsoff v. Modern Construction, Sup., Kings; November 9, 2013).

Similarly, in Jacobs v. Jet Blue[*41] Airlines we were able to defeat a claim of three herniated discs and lifetime of lost earnings by an ironworker claiming a fall from a jetbridge. We persuaded the court that there was no violation of Labor Law Section 200, 240(1) and 241(6), even though the plaintiff fell from a height of twenty feet, by establishing that the plaintiff chose to jump from one jetbridge to another.

In Passa v. Z & J Construction[*42] we obtained a dismissal of an action against a contractor brought by a worker who injured his finger in a grinding machine at a construction job. We successfully argued that the contractor owed no duty to the plaintiff.

In Priola v. 181 Trading Corp[*43] we were assigned to defend the damages portion of the trial after summary judgment was granted in favor of plaintiff under Labor Law §240(1). Despite facial fractures which required surgery resulting from plaintiff's fall from a scaffold, the jury, upon Ernest Peck's vigorous cross-examination and summation, awarded nothing for pain and suffering or lost earnings and only $6,500 for medical expenses.

In the case of Morales v. Northwest Airlines, Inc[*44] we convinced the court that Labor Law §240(1) did not apply to a contractor who was repairing a jetbridge, even though he fell from an elevated height since, as we argued, there were no protective devices that would have assisted him at an elevation of approximately four steps from the bottom of the staircase.

In the case of Fryskowska v. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey[*45] we won a motion to dismiss the action on the grounds, inter alia, that Labor Law §240 did not apply to an accident which occurred at the Newark, New Jersey airport since §240 applies only to accidents involving New York accidents. In Calomino v. Lincoln Plaza Tenants Corp.[*46] the Appellate Division affirmed the decision granting our motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to show any evidence demonstrating a violation of the Labor Law where the plaintiff struck his back on a portion of waist-high exposed gas pipe.



[*39] 291 A.D.2d 395, 737 NYS2d 381 (2nd Dept. 2002)
[*40] Supreme Ct., Queens County, October 4, 2005, Justice Augustus Agate.
[*41] Supreme Ct., Kings County, March 20, 2006, Justice Michal A. Ambrosio.
[*42] Supreme Ct., Kings County, Judge Bernard Graham, 2012.
[*43] Supreme Ct., Kings County, June 29, 2004, Justice Gerald Held.
[*44] U.S. District Ct., SDNY, September 30, 1996, Judge Lawrence M. McKenna.
[*45] Supreme Ct., New York County, April 19, 1994, Justice Greenfield.
[*46] 569 NYS2d 738 (1st Dept. 1991).

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