New York's Labor Law drives up the cost of construction in New York because it drives up the cost of insurance in New York. The main reason for this is the so called "strict liability" provided by the Labor Law when it comes to falls from heights. But the Appellate Division recently reminded us that not every fall from a height results in automatic liability.
The case involved a fall of some 30 feet on the new World Trade Center. Apparently a worker stepped on a pipe scaffold that gave way. The plaintiff moved for summary judgment but the trial court denied the motion finding questions of fact. Specifically, they questioned whether there were adequate anchor points from which the injured worker (who was wearing a harness with a double lanyard) could have tied off. Sure the jury may ultimately find for the injured worker. But cases like this provide a glimmer of hope for those trying to fight back against New York's Labor Law.
The case was Giordano v. Tishman Const. Corp.
Vincent T. Pallaci is the managing member of Kushnick Pallaci PLLC. His practice includes defending contractors and owners against Labor Law claims and prosecuting claims against insurance companies that refuse to provide coverage to contractors and owners.