Our Recent Case Victories That Shaped The Law to Protect New York Construction Workers
Melaku v. AGA 15th Streetm LLC, et al., 2021 WL 329292 (1st Dept. Feb. 2, 2021)– Won summary judgment under the Scaffold Law, Labor Law § 240(1), for
an electrician who suffered severe injuries to his foot and ankle, requiring
multiple surgeries, and a spinal fracture, when the A-frame ladder he
was using tipped over and fell while he was attempting to retrieve a tool
from a scaffold. Plaintiff brought suit against the owner of the building,
the general contractor, and Xavier High School who had contractor for
the work for their new building. The Court rejected the defendants’
arguments that Plaintiff should have used a vertical ladder built into
the side of the scaffold.
Potenzo v. The City of New York, et al., 189 A.D.3d 705 (1st Dept. 2020)– Won summary judgment, reversing the decision of the trial judge below,
for a union drywall taper who slipped on ice injuring his knee, requiring
a total knee replacement. The Court held that the The City of New York
and general contractor Tishman Technologies Corporation were liable for
causing Potenzo’s accident under Labor Law § 241(6) for a violation
of the New York State Industrial Code 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(d) because they
failed to clear snow and ice from the walkway where Potenzo slipped in
between the guard booth and the building, which was generally used by
the workers entering the construction site from the parking lot. A site
safety report for the date of accident stated that Tishman Technologies
Corporation’s Site Safety Rep. had “advised the super to clear
the workers walkway of ice and snow and add salt.” The Defendants
argued that this area was not a walkway under the regulation, but that
argument was rejected by the Court.
Ciborowski v. 228 Thompson Realty, LLC, 189 A.D.3d 428 (1st Dept. 2020) - Won summary judgment under Labor Law § 240(1) – the Scaffold
Law - for a carpenter who suffered a fractured leg and spinal injuries,
requiring multiple surgeries, when he fell from a ladder while attempting
to paint a wall. The Court found that, because the ladder wobbled and
caused him to lose his balance and fall, the defendants had not provided
him proper safety devices under the statute. The Court rejected any arguments
by the defendant owner of the building that Ciborowski had slipped or
whether his own actions caused the ladder to move because there was no
evidence to support those arguments. They also rejected the opinion by
defendant’s expert who never examined the ladder as speculative.
Haynes v. Boricua Village Housing Dev. Fund Co., Inc., 170 A.D.3d 509 (1st
Dept. 2019) - Won summary judgment for a carpenter who suffered an electric shock
when attempting to install pins in a drop ceiling using a Hilti gun. The
Court found that, even though the owner of the company Haynes worked for
testified that he came to the scene after the accident and there was no
exposed wiring or anything unusual, Haynes still wins. The Court made
this decision that Plaintiff still wins summary judgment based on violations
of Industrial Code 12 NYCRR §§ 23-1.13(b)(3) and (4) because
the owner of the company didn’t arrive at the site until 20 to 30
minutes after the accident and Haynes’ testimony and an affidavit
from Haynes’ supervisor indicated that exposed uncapped electrical
wiring was seen hanging from the ceiling in the area Haynes was working,
and Haynes’ coworker stated that after the accident he observed
electricians arriving at the accident site and capping exposed wiring.
Hoyos v. NY-1095 Avenue of the Americas, LLC, et al., 156 A.D.3d 491 (1st
Dept. 2017) - Reversed the ruling of the trial court below and won summary judgment
for a union-affiliated painter who slipped or fell off an elevated loading
dock when attempting to enter the building to perform his work at a construction/renovation
project only taking place on certain floors higher up in the building.
In a split decision, the Court ruled in favor of Hoyos, taking into account
“the reality of what construction workers employed on projects in
high rise buildings face.” The Court found that Hoyos was working
at the time, even though he was still trying to enter the building, and
that the loading dock was considered part of the construction/renovation
site because Hoyos was required to “line up with other construction
personnel and use the crowded, elevated loading dock to gain access to
the building at the start of each work day” and Hoyos was “not
provided with a safer or different means of gaining access to any other
part of the building.” Furthermore, the Court found that the loading
dock was high enough off the ground to trigger the safety protections
of the law and that it “was several feet off the floor [and] it
had no railing, chain, demarcation or other protective safety device to
prevent someone on the crowded platform from falling off its edge . . .”
Gonzalez v. Paramount Group, Inc. et al., 157 A.D.3d 427 (1st Dept. 2018) (internal citations omitted) – Won summary judgment for a union laborer who had a cinderblock fall on
his knee while he was making an opening in a concrete wall for HVAC ductwork
to be installed. The Court found that “the cinderblocks above the
opening that fell were “falling objects” under Labor Law §
240(1) required to be secured for the purposes of the undertaking.”
The Court said that
O’Brien v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 29 N.Y.3d 27 (2017), another case from The Perecman Firm, was inapplicable
here because the defendants did not provide any safety device to secure
the cinderblocks, as opposed to in
O’Brien, where there was a question of whether the safety device provided was
adequate. This case resulted in a settlement of $1,200,000.
Cardona v. New York City Housing Authority et al., 153 A.D.3d 1179 (1st Dept. 2017) – Won summary judgment for a laborer who fell to the ground and
suffered knee injuries when climbing the cross braces of a sidewalk bridge,
as he was instructed to do. The court ruled in favor of Mr. Cardona because
he was not provided with a ladder or other safety device to access the
sidewalk bridge in violation of Labor Law 240(1). Defendants did not present
sufficient evidence that Cardona was instructed not to go up on the sidewalk
bridge. The Employer’s Injury and Illness Report was not accepted
as evidence for the Defendants as their own witness denied preparing it
and there was no proof that it was “prepared by anyone with personal
knowledge of the relevant events.” Defendants tried to argue that
Cardona fell because of his “carelessness,” “bad decisions,”
and his size, but these arguments were not accepted as comparative negligence
is not a defense to a Labor Law 240(1) claim. This case was later settled
Pacheco v. Halsted Communications, Ltd. et al.,
114 A.D.3d 768 (2nd Dept. 2016) – Won summary judgment for a worker who
fell and suffered brain injuries when climbing down a 28-foot ladder after installing satellite cable equipment
on the roof of a home. The Court ruled in favor of Pacheco because the
ladder was unsecured, and he was not provided with a safety device to
prevent him from falling. The defendants tried to argue that Pacheco should
lose because he used a 28-foot ladder instead of a 40-foot ladder, but
they failed because they did not show that there were 40-foot ladders
available for him to use. The case was settled for a confidential sum.
Jerdonek v. 41 West 72 LLC, et al., 143 A.D.3d 43 (1st Dept. 2016) – Won summary judgment for a union worker who
fell from a scaffold that was not properly secured and lacked guard rails. Even though witness
from the general contractor testified to a different version of the accident,
Jerdonek still won because Labor Law 240(1) “was violated under
either version of the accident.” This was especially because the
general contractor testified that that first level of the scaffolding
did not have middle or top guard rails. The Court held that Jerdonek was
entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240(1) claim against the
owner of the building, the board of managers of the condominium building.
This case was settled after trial for $1,140,890.800.
Golubowski v. City of New York, 131 A.D.3d 900 (1st Dept. 2015) – Won liability under Labor Law §240(1) for our client, a plumber,
who was injured when he
fell from a ladder that had become wet and slippery from water leaking from an overhead sprinkler
system that was being dismantled. This case was settled for $600,000.
Czajkowski v. City of New York, 126 A.D.3d 543 (1st Dept. 2015) – Won liability under Scaffold Law for our client, who was using
a sawzall to remove 10-foot high, 8 to 10-foot wide window frames, when
the top half of the window fell out of the wall and crushed his hand.
The Court said that Mr. Czakowski was entitled to summary judgment on
his Labor Law 240(1) claim because he “was not provided any safety
device to brace or otherwise support the window while it was being removed
in the manner he was instructed.” This case was settled for $700,000.
Jerez v. Tishman Const. Corp of New York, 118 A.D.3d 617 (1st Dept. 2014). Our client, a union carpenter working on a form wall at the World Trade
Center construction site, was awarded liability under the Scaffold Law
when a brace that he had secured his lanyard to gave way, causing him
to fall 14 feet to the floor below. The Port Authority's witness also
admitted that our client had not been given double lanyards, as had been
required. This case was settled for $4,750,000.
Alameda-Cabrera v. Noble Electrical Contracting Co., Inc., 117 A.D.3d 484 (1st Dept. 2014) – We won liability for our client under Labor Law 241(6) who was
severely injured when using a miter saw that did not have a protective
guard and a vise clamp in violation of Industrial Code 12 NYCRR 23-1.12(c)(2)
and 23-9.2(a). This case was settled for $1,000,000.
Grant v. City of New York, 109 A.D.3d 961 (2d Dept. 2013) – Court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who
fell approximately 15 feet from an unsecured straight ladder that shifted
to the side while he was doing electrical work in a New York City school
auditorium. The Court said that Mr. Grant still wins even though the City
of New York argued that he should have had a coworker hold the bottom
of the ladder or use a nylon rope to secure the bottom of the ladder to
a stationary object This case was settled for $1,850,000.
Stallone v. Plaza Construction Corp., 95 A.D.3d 633 (1st Dept. 2012) – Court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, a union crane
operator,  who fell 13 feet from a vertical fixed ladder while climbing
down from the cab of the crane, because the ladder "proved inadequate
to shield [him]
from harm directly flowing  from the application of the force of gravity
to an object or person." The Court ruled in favor of our client because that ladder was the
only means by which he could reach his elevated work site and his injuries
were “at least partially attributable to defendants’ failure
to take mandated safety measures to protect him from elevation-relation
risks.” This case was settled for $6,000,000.
Nechifor v. RH Atlantic-Pacific LLC, 92 A.D.3d 514 (1st Dept. 2012) – Court ruled in favor of our client, a union carpenter, under the
Scaffold Law, who fell 12 feet as he attempted to climb down from the
top of a scaffold by climbing down the frame because the ladder that was
supposed to be attached to the scaffold was not provided. This case was
settled for $9,900,000 and was the top New York Construction Accident
Settlement in 2014 in as per the VerdictSearch Top Settlements list.
Kempisty v. 246 Spring Street, LLC, 92 A.D.3d 474 (1st Dept. 2012). This is a very significant case where the court applied the Scaffold
Law to rule in favor of our client, who had his foot crushed by an 8,000
pound block that was moving slightly from side to side while it was 
being hoisted for a load test. Although the client did not fall from a
ladder or scaffold, the more typical case under the Scaffold Law, the
court held that “the elevation differential [between the block and
our client’s foot] cannot be considered de minimis when the weight
of the object being hoisted is capable of generating an extreme amount
of force, even though it only traveled a short distance.” This case
went to trial and was settled after trial for $7,250,000.
Olszewski v. Park Terrace Gardens, Inc., 306 A.D.2d 128 (1st Dept. 2003). First Department affirmed the trial court’s award of summary judgment
in favor of our client under Labor Law 240(1), known as New York’s
“Scaffold Law,” in a case where our client, who was working
on a suspension scaffold removing paint from the outside of a building,
fell seven stories when the ropes holding one side of the suspension scaffold
broke. The court rejected the defense argument that the client was solely
to blame for not securing his harness, because the scaffold failed and
there was “no evidence that plaintiff was given an immediate instruction
to use the harness.” We think this case is particularly applicable
here, because there was a failure to provide a full height railing/parapet,
which courts have repeatedly held is a violation of the Labor Law, just
as does the failure to provide a scaffold with full railings.
Chrabaszcz v. Western Loft Equities, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (December 20, 2010). Trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor Law §240(1),
in a case where the client, while working on a scaffold installing drywall
with a nail gun, was caused to fall off the scaffold when it unexpectedly
moved, because the scaffold lacked side rails.
Salem v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, et al., Supreme Court, Bronx County (April 11, 2016). The trial court awarded liability under Labor Law §240(1) to our
client who, while working on a scaffold, was caused to fall when part
of the scaffold collapsed.
Ksepka v. The City of New York, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (April 20, 2015) The trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor Law §240(1),
who fell while climbing down a vertical ladder affixed to an outside wall
of a school without having been given a safety harness, and where the
steps of the ladder were an insufficient distance from the wall thus allowing
our client to only place the very front of his feet on the ladder steps.
Nukic v. St. John’s Cemetery Corporation, Supreme Court, Queens County (December 23, 2015). The trial court trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor
Law §240(1), in a case where our client fell from an unbraced and
unsecured ladder while using a crowbar to remove forms from a ceiling
at a construction site.
Malfitano v. Extell West 57th Street, LLC, Supreme Court, New York County (September 25, 2015). The trial court trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor
Law §240(1), in a case where the client fell from an unsecured extension
ladder that ran at an angle between a floor below and a concrete deck
being built above.
Rodriguez v. Concourse Flatiron Associates, LP, Supreme Court, Bronx County (February 23, 2015). The trial court trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor
Law §240(1), as a result of our client having been injured when,
while working on a ladder removing sheet rock from the ceiling of a building,
an entire sheet of sheetrock that was wet from a leak was caused to fall
upon him and the ladder, causing him to fall from the ladder.
Paszko v. Roman Catholic Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Supreme Court, New York County (October 20, 2014). Trial court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who while
painting crown molding at a school fell from a closed A-frame ladder that
slid out from the bottom.
Darcy v. SL Green Realty Corp., et al., Supreme Court, New York County (September 16, 2014). Trial court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who fell
from an unsecured open A-frame ladder that moved while our client was
working from it.
Aulet v. 405 W. 53rd Development, Supreme Court, Bronx County (March 26, 2014). Trial court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who was
caused to fall from an unsecured ladder he was working on when a heavy
steel form he was removing from a column came loose and struck him and
Grant v. City of New York, 109 A.D.3d 961 (2d Dept. 2013). Court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who fell approximately
15 feet from an unsecured straight ladder while doing electrical work
in a New York City school auditorium.
Knapik v. Column 75, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (December 19, 2013). Trial court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who fell
from an open A-frame ladder that shook and moved while our client was
working from it in a bathroom.
Ostrowski v. Sutton Hill Capital, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (October 17, 2013). Trial court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client who, while
working on the roof of defendant’s building, was caused to fall
through a skylight opening that had not been properly covered.
Lugo v. Sunbyrd Realty Corp, Supreme Court, Bronx County (August 29, 2013). Trial court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who fell
from a fixed vertical ladder while trying to open a door that provided
access to the building’s elevator repair room.
Davis v. CPS 1 Realty GP LLC, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (July 29, 2013). Trial court awarded summary judgment to our client under Labor Law §240(1),
in a case where our client was injured when, while walking down a wooden
ramp that ran from a lift platform to the floor below, one of the ramp’s
planks collapsed because it was not properly secured to the ramp.
Dobrzyn v. City of New York, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (May 16, 2013). Trial court granted summary judgment under Scaffold Law to our client
who, while laying bricks on an exterior wall of a building, was injured
when the scaffold he was working on came free from the wall that it was
attached to because it had been improperly secured to it.
Felix v. Independence Savings Bank, 89 A.D.3d 895 (2d Dept. 2011). Court ruled in favor of our client under the Scaffold Law, where the
client, a pipefitter, fell from a scaffold when one of the scaffold wheels
 slipped into a hole in the floor at the construction site.
Wraclawek v. JNK-Grand, LLC, Supreme Court, New York County (October 5, 2011). Trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor Law §240(1),
in a case where the client was injured when, while working at ceiling
height on a straight aluminum ladder, the ladder slid out at the bottom
causing the client to fall to the ground.
Gaynor v. One Bryant Park, LLC, Supreme Court, New York County (May 25, 2011). Trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor Law §240(1),
where the client, while working on an A-frame ladder installing pipes
into a hanger suspended from the ceiling, was injured when the ladder
broke and collapsed.
Romanczuk v. Metropolitan Ins. and Annuity Co., 72 A.D.3d 592 (1st Dept. 2010). Court ruled in favor of our client under the Scaffold Law, where the
scaffold he was using to access the bulkhead located on the building’s
roof had insufficient planks on it for him to stand on; and no other safety
devices were provided to prevent or protect him from falling.
Kochanowicz v. 410-57 Corporation, et al., Supreme Court, New York County (May 11, 2010). Trial court awarded liability to our client under Labor Law §240(1),
where the client fell 10 to 12 feet from a sidewalk bridge he was working
on when one of the plywood side panels of the sidewalk bridge broke free.
Kaminski v. Carlyle One, 51 A.D.3d 473 (1st Dept. 2008). Another important case where the court ruled in favor of our client,
who was injured while attempting to realign a side panel of a sidewalk
bridge he and his coworkers were constructing. The court stated that “the
failure to provide [our client] with any safety device to protect him
against the risk of a fall created by his need to lean over the side of
 the bridge to nail in the side panels leads to liability” under
the Scaffold Law, and further specifically ruled that a co-worker is not
a safety device under the Scaffold Law.
Lesisz v. Salvation Army, 40 A.D.3d 1050 (2d Dept. 2007). Court awarded liability under Scaffold Law to our client, who fell from
an unsecured ladder that slid out from under him.
Ranieri v. Holt Construction Corp., 33 A.D.3d 425 (1st Dept. 2006). Our client was a sheet metal worker who was injured when he fell from
an unsecured ladder. The court ruled our client was entitled to a liability
finding in his favor because “the failure to supply [him] with a
properly secured ladder or any safety devices was a proximate cause of
Curte v. City of New York, 21 A.D.3d 1050 (2d Dept. 2005). The plaintiff was "chipping concrete" as part of a repair of
a train trestle located at the Huguenot station in Staten Island. A gust
of wind caused by the passing of a nearby train caused a tarp to  exert
pressure against the plaintiff's ladder, the ladder moved away from the
wall on which it had been propped, and this movement prompted the plaintiff
to release his grasp and fall.