Section 240 of the New York Labor Law, known as the “Scaffolding Law,” imposes absolute liability for elevation-related injuries on contractors and property owners engaged in construction. The Scaffolding Law holds owners, contractors and their agents responsible for providing necessary equipment to keep workers safe from on-site falls.
Since the enactment of the original Section 240 in the early 1900s, courts have interpreted the law to allow construction workers injured in falls the ability to bring civil actions against the contractor and owner of the property responsible for the safety of the jobsite. In the recent ruling of Canfield v. Forman Jay, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Francois Rivera applied the Scaffold Law to a movie set that was under construction.
The Facts of the Case
Scott Canfield, a movie set dresser, was injured during the production of a movie when he fell about 10 feet to the concrete floor while attaching thatch-like panels to the roof of a faux tiki hut. The 7,000-square-foot hut was intended to recreate the island of Bali in the film.
Canfield was working from a plywood-floored platform, which had been raised by a forklift to the level of the fake hut’s roof when the fall occurred. Edward Gersowitz represented Canfield in filing a lawsuit against Forman Jay LLC, the owner of the warehouse where part of the movie was filmed. Gersowitz filed a motion for summary judgment.
The Judge’s Ruling
Judge Rivera ruled that the plaintiff made a prima facie showing that the warehouse owner violated Section 240 by failing to provide him with better protection from falling. Rivera further concluded that the criteria under Section 240(1) was satisfied by showing that Canfield was working at an elevation, that he suffered a fall from a height, and that he was not provided with the safety devices enumerated under the scaffold law. Additionally, the judge determined that Canfield was engaged in erecting, repairing, altering or painting under the ambit of the scaffold law when he was hurt.
Judge Rivera’s ruling nails the importance of the need for protection for construction workers, even those who are working at sites u such as a movie set. The bottom line is that the Scaffolding Law places responsibility where it belongs: on the people who need to ensure that their employees are provided with a safe work environment.
Injured Construction Workers Deserve Protection
If you or someone you know is injured in a construction accident, you may be familiar with the possibility of painful injuries that may result from such devastating accidents. The road to recovery can be long and expensive. The inability to work during the recovery process, or ever again for that matter, may leave the victim and their family financially strapped.
The Scaffold Law provides injured victims and their family members the legal protection they deserve. If the accident was the fault of the construction worker’s employer or the project owner, the victim may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction site accident, you need to hire an attorney who knows the law and can aggressively fight to get you the full extent of the compensation that you deserve. The New York construction accident attorneys at Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C. understand the ramifications that construction accidents have on victims. Senior partner and lead trial attorney Jeff S. Korek grew up in the construction industry and has first hand knowledge of the inherent dangers in this occupation. Our team is ready to fight for you and your family during this difficult time.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our New York construction accident attorneys, please call 1-800-529-9997.