On April 17, 2007, the plaintiff, an installer of cable-television systems, serviced a residence that was located in Brooklyn. During the course of his duties, the plaintiff fell off of the top half of an extension ladder. He plummeted about 12 feet, and he sustained an injury of a leg.
Soba sued the company that contracted his work and a related entity. He alleged that the defendants violated the New York State Labor Law.
The defendants impleaded the plaintiff’s employer. They alleged that the company controlled and directed the plaintiff’s work functions.
The third-party claim was discontinued, but the company’s insurer assumed the defense of all of the defendants.
The plaintiff claimed that the extension ladder was not a sufficient tool, in that it was being used as a standalone ladder despite its lack of footings. He contended that the defendants should have provided a different ladder or braced and secured the extension ladder.
The plaintiff’s counsel contended that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard, as defined by Labor Law ? 240(1), and that the plaintiff was not provided the proper, safe equipment that is a requirement of the statute. He also contended that the site was not properly safeguarded, as required by Labor Law ? 241(6).
Defense counsel contended that the accident was entirely a result of the plaintiff’s misuse of the ladder. He claimed that available equipment would have permitted proper securing of the ladder.
The plaintiff’s counsel moved for summary judgment of liability. The judge found that the defendants violated Labor Law ? 240(1), and, as such, she granted the motion. The matter proceeded to a trial that addressed damages.
The plaintiff sustained an impacted comminuted fracture of the distal tibia of his left leg, which was treated with an external fixator during his initial hospitalization. He also sustained a fracture of the distal fibular shaft of the left leg, which was treated with open reduction and internal fixation with a plate and screws. The plaintiff claimed that the fracture fragments from his injuries healed, but that deformities and defects remained. He also claimed that he suffered a shallow skin ulcer in the skin of his left ankle. He contended that he has difficulty walking, that he requires a cane and that he is in pain that requires medication. He also contended that he can no longer work in his prior occupation or any occupation that requires prolonged standing, walking, climbing or strenuous physical activity.
The plaintiff sought recovery of his past and future medical expenses, his future life-care expenses, his past and future lost earnings, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering.
The parties stipulated that the plaintiff’s damages could not exceed $4.5 million.
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