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When a worker is injured on the job due to a violation of New York Labor Law, someone other than the worker may be liable for the damages caused. But determining who that “someone” is can be complicated matter, and the potential “someones” often go to great lengths to make sure the responsible “someone” is someone else.
The Supreme Court recently ruled on a flurry of motions for summary judgment brought by the defendants in the case of McAllister v. Phoenix Constructors. This case involved an injured employee who was hurt while working to reinforce the Westside IRT subway tunnel around the Cortlandt Street subway station in New York City as part of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub Project. The worker was part of a crew of ironworkers building a scaffold inside the tunnel. While manually hoisting a 250-300 pound metal beam to place it on a catwalk, the employee slipped on some grease or creosote and fractured his wrist when the beam came down on it.
The injured plaintiff initially sued the general contractor – Phoenix Constructors – along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) and the New York City Transit Authority/Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). New York Labor Law section 240 (1) says that “all contractors and owners and their agents” are responsible for providing protections to prevent the type of accident which took place here. In this case, the court found that the Port Authority was the owner, and Phoenix was the general contractor. There was much discussion whether the MTA was also an owner since it held an easement allowing it exclusive use of the property in question. In the end, the court granted summary judgment for the plaintiff holding the Port Authority and Phoenix Constructors liable on the 240 (1) claim. The court also granted summary judgment for the MTA, dismissing all the claims brought against it.
New York City personal injury attorney Leo Vrionedes investigates every accident to determine which parties share in responsibility for causing the accident or injury and fights to hold each defendant accountable for their negligence. If you have been injured in a construction accident or other workplace accident or personal injury, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.