What is New York State Labor Law 240? | Construction Accident Lawyer Buffalo, NY

Construction accident lawyers in Buffalo, NY from Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria explain New York State Labor Law 240. For more information, visit: http://www.lipsitzgreen.com/practice-areas/accidents-and-personal-injury/construction-accidents/
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In this video extract from the Lawline.com Course “Building a Winning Case: The Law of Construction Site Accidents”, New York Construction Accident Attorney Anthony Gair explains the law of construction accidents in New York, specifically NY Labor Law Section 240.
NY Labor Law Section 240 is also known as the scaffolding law because when it was first enacted in 1912, it was to protect workers working on scaffolds at great heights when the first big buildings were being erected in the city. Scaffolds would often collapse and workers would fall from hundreds of feet or objects falling from great heights would strike workers on the ground.
The decisions interpreting Labor Law section 240 are constantly changing, like a pendulum. At one point they favor the plaintiff, at another the defendant. It is therefore very important for a New York construction lawyer to know the history of the law.
From 1978, (Haimes v. New York Telephone Company), until mid-1990 the law clearly favored the plaintiff. From the late 90s the pendulum began to swing in favor of the defendant. A decisive moment was the 2003 Court of Appeals decision in Blake v. Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City Inc. that introduced the concept of sole proximate cause which allows defendants to avoid liability if the plaintiff is entirely responsible for his injury.
Since 2009 the most important case, the one that changed everything and probably the most important in the last 10 years is Runner v. New York Stock Exchange in which The New York Court of Appeals held plaintiff was entitled to judgment pursuant to Section 240 despite the fact that he was not struck by an object. It was decided 3 years ago and it has been cited close to 200 times. In Runner, plaintiffs had to move an 800 pound reel of wire down a set of stairs. Plaintiffs and co-workers were instructed to tie a 10 foot rope to the reel and to wrap the rope around a metal brace installed horizontally across a door jamb. The loose end of the rope was held by the plaintiff and 2 other co-workers serving as human counterweights. Another construction worker started to push the reel down the stairs. As the reel descended the force of gravity caused the reel to travel down the stairs at a high speed and as a result of the weight of the reel the plaintiff was pulled toward the brace and the plaintiff’s hands were smashed into the metal brace. The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff’s injury was the direct consequence of defendant’s failure to provide adequate protection against a risk arising from an elevated related differential. The Court went on to state, in this scenario, the relevant inquiry was than whether the injury was a direct consequence of the application of the force of gravity to the object. In focusing on the force of gravity The Court relied on the language set forth in Ross v. Curtis-Palmer and Rocovich v. ConEd.

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