First Department Reverses Lower Court Decision Granting Summary Judgment to the City of New York Pursuant to Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6)

In the case Siguencia v City of New York 2016 NY Slip Op 03108, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed the Decision of the lower court granting summary judgment to the City of New York pursuant to Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6).

The Appellate Division’s brief decision and justification is as follows:

“The City concedes that the court improperly dismissed the Labor Law §§ 240 and 241 claims on the ground that the City was an out-of-possession landlord, since the statutes impose liability on property owners without regard to the owner’s degree of supervision or control over the premises (Gordon v Eastern Ry. Supply , 82 NY2d 555, 559-560 [1993]; Celestine v City of New York , 86 AD2d 592 [2d Dept 1982], affd 59 NY2d 938 [1983]).”

This decision raises a huge question to an experienced Construction Accident Attorney in New York. How could the City move for Summary Judgment on the grounds that they were an out-of-possession owner in the first place? The lower court grants their motion then they concede on Appeal that they owned the property. The law regarding the liability pursuant to the Labor Law for an out-of-possession landlord has been in effect and unchanged for decades. Essentially, the City of New York wasted the time of the plaintiff’s counsel, any Appellate counsel, the lower court and the Appellate Division. This conduct could be deemed by many attorneys to be sanctionable given the fact that the City concede on Appeal that they could be held liable as an out-of-possession owner under the Labor Law.

Due to the complex nature of construction accident lawsuits, it is within the best interest of victims to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney fluent in the nuances of the Labor Laws of the State of New York. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our attorneys have decades of combined experience. Our attorneys’ experience combined with a unique knowledge of the law has led to a number of enviable verdicts and settlements. For instance, we recovered $7.01 million in a wrongful death lawsuit following a construction accident.

If you have suffered an injury in a construction accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any damages incurred. Please call 212-406-1700 or contact us online for a free case evaluation from Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool.