FKB’S ANDREW S. KOWLOWITZ AND DAVID B. STEINBRUCK OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF A LABOR LAW 240 ACTION IN THE BRONX COUNTY SUPREME COURT

02/27/2020

On February 14, 2020, FKB obtained summary judgment, pursuant to CPLR § 3212,  in the Bronx County Supreme Court, dismissing Labor Law claims against their client, in connection with a claim involving severe personal injuries arising from a Plaintiff’s claim of a fall from a construction scaffold.  

FKB’s client, a contractor, was hired by the owner of the property to perform demolition work in connection with a demolition and construction project.  However, FKB’s client pulled permits with the Department of Buildings, indicating that it was the construction superintendent on the job site.  FKB’s actual job function on the site was not consistent with that of a construction superintendent; it did not hire and fire workers, supervise the work, or direct the means and methods of the work.  Further, FKB’s client was not on the jobsite on the day of the accident. 

Plaintiff relied upon the DOB work permits to argue that FKB’s client was the general contractor/construction superintendent and, thus, statutory liable under the Labor Law.  On summary judgment, FKB relied upon well-established caselaw which holds that work permits alone, without more, cannot impute Labor Law liability upon a contractor.  See Kosovrasti v. Epic (217) LLC, 96 A.D.3d 695, 948 N.Y.S.2d 260 (1st Dept. 2012); Martinez v. 408-410 Greenwich St., LLC, 83 A.D.3d 674 (2nd Dept. 2011).  Further, FKB argued that the facts developed during discovery establish that its client did not serve the role of a general contractor/construction superintendent, and as such, liability could not attach.

The Court agreed with FKB’s arguments that the work permits, without more, could not establish liability under the Labor Law and further agreed that FKB’s client’s lack of a nexus to the circumstances of the accident further precluded liability for the accident. On February 14, 2020, the Hon. Lucindo Suarez, J.S.C., granted FKB’s motion for summary judgment dismissing all claims against FKB’s client, including the cross-claims.

If you have any questions about this decision, or the defense of construction contractors, sub-contractors or owners in general, please contact Andrew S. Kowlowitz or David B. Steinbruck.

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