Nicole Salerno Wins Summary Judgment Motion in Labor Law Case

Nicole C. Salerno secured a summary judgment dismissal in a matter venued in the New York County Supreme Court involving New York Labor Law governing a construction accident. The case was complicated by the fact that plaintiff’s complaint was voluntarily dismissed and the New York State Insurance Fund (“SIF”) intervened to prosecute plaintiff’s claims in order to recover monies expended in connection with workers’ compensation benefits paid to plaintiff.

Plaintiff, a maintenance engineer and operator, sustained injuries while walking on a pier in New York, New York. He claimed that on the pier, a wooden plank failed beneath his feet, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. The accident occurred as the plaintiff was attempting to board a barge after it had been demobilized. Plaintiff asserted claims of negligence and violations of Labor Law §§200, 240 and 241(6) against multiple defendants, including a defendant subcontracted to install lighting into the existing railings located on the pier.

Judge Lynn R. Kotler granted Mrs. Salerno’s motion for summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s Complaint against said defendant subcontractor.  The Judge found that based on 33 USC § 933[b] and Pallas Shipping Agency, Ltd. v. Duris, 461 U.S.529 (1983), SIF lacked standing to maintain an action on behalf of the plaintiff. Honorable Kotler further concluded that SIF’s claims also lacked merit as a matter of law. The Judge dismissed the Labor 240 claim based on the fact that plaintiff did not fall from a height and his accident was not caused by a height differential. The Labor Law 241(6) claim was dismissed as plaintiff’s cited Industrial Code sections were determined to be either inapplicable or insufficient to sustain a 241(6) claim.  As for the negligence and the Labor Law 200 claims, Judge Kotler concluded that there was no testimony that defendant subcontractor exercised supervision and control over plaintiff nor advised him to access the barge in the manner he attempted. The Judge further found that there was no proof in the record demonstrating that defendant subcontractor had notice of the condition which caused plaintiff’s accident or that they caused it.

As such, Judge Kotler dismissed the negligence and Labor Law 200 claims against the defendant subcontractor. Additionally, defendant subcontractor’s motion to dismiss the cross-claims against them was also granted, as the Judge held that there was no basis to find that they contributed to plaintiff’s injuries or that they were otherwise contractually liable to any other defendant to defend or indemnify arising from plaintiff’s accident.