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Court Rules on Violation of Labor Law Section 240

In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the plaintiff appeals from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Whelan, J.), entered September 2, 2009, which, upon a jury verdict, and upon the granting of the motion of the defendant Swiss Ranch Estates, Ltd., in effect, pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the evidence, for judgment as a matter of law on the cause of action alleging a violation of Labor Law § 240(1), upon the denial, in effect, of his motion pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the evidence, for judgment as a matter of law on that cause of action, and upon the denial of his motion pursuant to CPLR 4404(a) to set aside the jury verdict and for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, to set aside the jury verdict as contrary to the weight of the evidence, is in favor of the defendant Swiss Ranch Estate, Ltd., dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against that defendant.
The plaintiff, who was preparing to install insulation at a home being constructed on property owned by the defendant, Swiss Ranch Estate, Ltd. (hereinafter Swiss Ranch), fell and was injured when a set of stairs connecting the first floor of the home to the garage collapsed beneath him as he stepped onto it.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the plaintiff commenced the instant action alleging, inter alia, violations of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6). At trial, the Supreme Court granted Swiss Ranch’s motion, in effect, pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the evidence, for judgment as a matter of law on the cause of action alleging a violation of Labor Law § 240(1), and denied, in effect, the plaintiff’s motion pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the evidence, for judgment as a matter of law on that cause of action. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Swiss Ranch on the remaining cause of action, which alleged a violation of Labor Law § 241(6). The plaintiff moved to set aside the verdict and the Supreme Court denied his motion. A judgment was entered in favor of Swiss Ranch and against the plaintiff, dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against it. The plaintiff appealed.

The issue in this case is whether plaintiff is entitled to recover damages against the defendant.
The Court said that the set of stairs in the instant matter “was not being utilized as a ladder, scaffold, hoist, or other safety device for the benefit of the injured plaintiff in his work”. Rather, the plaintiff was attempting to use it as a passageway at the worksite and, thus, it was not within the purview of Labor Law § 240(1).

Accordingly, under these particular facts, the Supreme Court properly granted Swiss Ranch’s motion, in effect, pursuant to CPLR 4401, for judgment as a matter of law on the cause of action alleging a violation of Labor Law § 240(1), and properly denied, in effect, the plaintiff’s motion pursuant to CPLR 4401 for judgment as a matter of law on that cause of action.

Westchester County Probate Lawyers said the plaintiff’s challenge to the Supreme Court’s denial of his motion to set aside the verdict is without merit, as there was a valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could lead rational people to the conclusion reached by the jury on the basis of the evidence presented at trial. Moreover, the jury verdict was supported by a fair interpretation of the evidence.

The plaintiff’s remaining contention is unpreserved for appellate review and, in any event, without merit. Thus, the Court ordered that the judgment is affirmed, with costs.

If you are involved in similar situation, and have a claim against an estate company, you need the help of a Suffolk Estate Administration Attorney. Our Suffolk Estate Litigation Attorneys at Stephen Bilkis and Associates can represent your case, and will provide you with all the legal options available in Court.

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