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Employee Injured at Work-Site, NY Appellate Court Dismisses Complaint


A married woman owned a property with a two-car garage. She decided to renovate the two-car garage by making it over into a guesthouse with a fireplace. She hired a general contractor to secure the necessary permits and licenses needed for the project; to hire and to supervise sub-contractors for each and every phase of the work; and to purchase insurance to shield the owner from suits in damages for any accidents that may occur during the renovation at the worksite.

The general contractor hired a company that constructs and installs drywall. It also hired a rock supplier to provide and install sheet rock as flooring. A man was hired by the rock supplier to deliver 16-foot sheet rock. A New York Injury Lawyer said he drove the truck on which the sheet rock was delivered. He also operated the boom that lifted the sheet rock from the truck bed to the forklift. A foreman from the general contractor told him to just bring the sheet rock into the garage and rest them on the long wall. The man and his helper took one sheet rock and carried it between the two of them. They entered the garage. When they got to the room where they were supposed to pile the sheet rock, the man’s right foot slipped into a hole on the cement floor of the worksite that measured about sixteen inches in diameter. There was a pipe that protruded from the hole and the man tripped on this and fell. The man could not see where he was going as he and his helper carried the sheet rock in between them. His slip and fall made him land on the sheet rock which fell and broke.

The man sustained serious personal injury and sued the owner of the premises (premises liability), her husband, the general contractor, the drywall installer, and the rock supplier for common law negligence and for negligence under the labor code to compensate him for the damages he sustained as a result of his personal injury.

All the defendants moved for summary judgment asking for the dismissal of the complaint of the sheet rock delivery man. The only question before the Court is whether or not the defendants are entitled to a summary judgment of dismissal.

The owner of the premises submitted proof that she personally and solely owned the premises. She hired a general contractor to oversee in her behalf the construction and renovation. A Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said that she often visited the premises but did not exercise any supervision of the construction work. She did not give instructions as to the performance of the construction work. She merely visited to see how the work was progressing.

The husband of the owner of the premises submitted proof that the premises are not conjugally or jointly owned by him and his wife; he submitted proof that only his wife owned the premises. He also submitted proof that he has not visited the premises and has not in any way supervised the work at the construction site.

The dry wall company submitted proof that on the day of the accident, it was not yet working at the worksite. The phase of the work that involved the installation of drywall had not yet begun and so it did not have any employees or equipment at the worksite. It had not yet worked at the worksite.

The rock supplier also disclaimed any responsibility for the slip and fall accident of the delivery man. Although the sheet rock was delivered at the worksite, the rock supplier had yet to begin work at the construction site. It had not yet done any work that could have created or caused the slipping and tripping hazard claimed by the deliveryman.

The general contractor denies any liability by stating that its job was limited to hiring sub-contractor to do the different phases of the construction work. A Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer said it hired architects, engineers and interior designers; it secured all the necessary licenses and permits for the construction work. Also it denies that it can be held liable for negligence under the Labor Code as it is not the employer of the deliveryman.

The only question before the Court is whether or not the complaint should be dismissed.

The Court ruled in favor of dismissal of the causes of action against the owner or the premises who never at any time exercised supervision or control of the construction project. The cause of action against the husband of the owner of the premises is also entitled to a dismissal of the cause of action against him as he is not the owner and has no relationship of supervision or control over the construction project.

The Court opined that liability for causes of action based on common law negligence and for violations of the Labor Code is limited to those who exercised control or supervision over the deliveryman; and to those who had actual or constructive notice of the existence of an unsafe condition that has caused the accident.

Clearly, none of the people and companies sued for damages under common law or the labor code exercised supervision or control over the deliveryman at the time that he delivered the sheet rock. There is no preliminary proof adduced in any of the causes of action that any of the parties here had actual or constructive notice that a dangerous condition existed that caused the deliveryman to slip and fall.

The complaint was dismissed.

Are you an employee who got injured at a worksite? Did you suffer damages as a result of a construction accident? Are you wondering if you can sue? Are you wondering whom to sue? Call the New York City Workers Compensation lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates. They can give you advice on the most viable cause of action to bring. Their New York Workers Compensation attorneys will spare you the nightmare and expense of engaging in costly litigation that will end up in dismissal. You will also need to have some idea of the amount of damages you are likely to obtain. The NYC Slip and Fall Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates can sit down with you and work out the actual and moral damages you can claim. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates at any of their offices in the New York area. The NY Slip and fall attorneys there are willing to assist and to represent you.

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