FKB’S ANDREW S. KOWLOWITZ AND DANIEL BUTLER OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT DISMISSING CLAIMS AGAINST A CONSTRUCTION SCAFFOLDING CONTRACTOR

07/13/2020

FKB’s Andrew Kowlowitz and Daniel Butler have obtained summary judgment dismissing a third-party action and all cross claims against their client, a New York City-based construction company retained to install and erect a scaffold on a construction site.  Plaintiff’s personal injury claim arises from a trip-and-fall over the cross-bracing of pipe scaffolding, installed by FKB’s client.  

Following full discovery and after several rounds of oral argument on the summary judgment motion, Justice Lucy Billings (J.S.C. New York County) granted FKB’s motion for summary judgment dismissing a third-party action against FKB’s client, as well as dismissing all cross claims.  The Court determined that, by contract, the Third Party Plaintiff accepted the condition of FKB’s client’s scaffolding three days after erection of the scaffolding – and more than three months before Plaintiff’s injury. Thus, the construction work at issue was deemed “accepted” and FKB’s client – the scaffolding company – could bear no responsibility for the accident.  Further, the Court rejected every aspect of the Third Party Plaintiff’s claim for contractual indemnity. 

The Court also ruled that the Cross-Claims were similarly subject to dismissal, as none of the parties could establish that the cause of the accident was attributable to a defect in the structural integrity of the scaffold; Plaintiff testified that the scaffold brace did not move prior to his accident.  Lastly, Justice Billings concluded that the scaffolding company had no control over or ongoing presence at the work site, and thus, could not have contributed to an unsafe work environment.  If you have any question about the defense of contractors, or in relation to construction site accident litigation, in general, please contact Andrew S. Kowlowitz or Daniel Butler

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