No Summary Judgment on Labor Law Claims Regardless of Whether Plaintiff’s Work Was Performed in Furtherance of Contract

Butt v. Bovis Lend Lease LMB, Inc., 2007 WL 4260519 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007 Dec. 6, 2007)

In this case, plaintiff sued for common law negligence and Labor Law violations, seeking to recover for injuries allegedly sustained when he fell from ladder while plastering a ceiling beam of an interior stairwell at a public school.  Defendants included the City of New York which owned the premises, the Board of Education which operated and maintained the premises, the general contractor, and the construction manager.  Defendants moved to dismiss the Labor Law violations on summary judgment, arguing that the work the plaintiff was performing when he was injured was outside the scope of his contract, and thus was not covered by the Labor Law.  The court denied the motion, finding that such a defense only applied to the benefit of parties who did not have authority to supervise or control the work at issue.  The court explained that such a defense would not apply to the owner’s liability because injury to a worker may not be circumscribed by contract.  Further, conflicting evidence had been presented as to whether the work was outside the scope of the contract., and so the issue was not capable of resolution on summary judgment. 

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