In the Simmons case, a plumber was injured when a compressor fell a few inches off a pallet while being moved. The Court decided that he can sue because the pallet got stuck on debris on the floor.
When a worker comes to my office and tells me how their accident happened, they really don’t care whether they have a case because of Labor Law section 200, 240, or 241(6). They just want a chance to be made whole again.
Here, where the compressor fell three to six inches off the pallet, it was not a significant enough distance for section 240 to apply. That law provides protection for workers injured due to a lack of safety devices to protect them from gravity-related hazards. Typically, it applies when they fall or an object falls on them.
But sometimes an object may only move a small distance downward, but because of its weight causes a lot of harm. One such case decided a few years ago was Kempisty v. 246 Spring Street, LLC, et al. Our firm won that case after an appeal to the Appellate Division. There, a four-ton steel block was being hoisted by a crane and, as soon as it was lifted, it moved sideways catching the heel of Mr. Kempisty, a union dock builder, in between that block and another block on the ground. My theory was that when a block moves like that upon being lifted, it’s because it is swinging to get to its lowest point, like a pendulum. I hired an expert who explained what I knew to the court, that it was from gravity. We won, and the case went on to a trial on