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Terry Rajkumar v. Mahendralall Lal, et al.

In this interesting decision, the Brooklyn-based Appellate Court said that the decision of the trial court below was incorrect and the worker’s claims could go forward. The worker was hired by the defendants, homeowners, to cut down a tree branch at their home. While he was on a ladder cutting down the branch, he was struck by something and he fell off the ladder suffering injuries. Owners of one and two-family homes are exempt from the Labor Law, unless they direct the performance of the work. Here, the worker said that the owner of the home was there while the work was going on, told him how to cut down the tree branch, and actually participated in the work. The owner didn’t provide enough evidence to refute this, so the Court allowed to case to proceed. Of note here is a mistake made by the defendants: they failed to argue in time that the Labor Law didn’t apply to the tree cutting activity so the Court couldn’t address that issue.

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