Subcontractor Liability For Injuries Caused By Subcontractor’s Equipment

Saccenti v. City of New York, 846 N.Y.S.2d 236 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007)

In this action based on Labor Law §§ 200 and 241(6) and common law negligence, the Second Department examined the lower court’s grant of summary judgment on all claims to defendant Hallen Construction, a subcontractor hired by a third-party defendant.  The claims involved injuries plaintiff sustained when he tripped over a spike Hallen had installed at the construction site in order to affix steel plates covering the trench it was excavating.

The court affirmed the award of summary judgment with respect to the claim raised under Labor Law § 241(6) pursuant to an alleged violation of 12 N.Y.C.R.R. 23-1.7(e)(2).  That regulation did not apply to the installation of spikes by Hallen at the work site because those spikes were functional; for that regulation to apply, the spikes needed to have qualified as dirt or debris scattered about the work site.

Nonetheless, the court reversed the award of summary judgment on plaintiff’s other two claims, finding there to be triable issues of fact regarding whether Hallen controlled the activity that caused plaintiff’s injury such that Hallen could have avoided or corrected the unsafe condition.

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