GVK Attorneys C. Briggs Johnson And Jay Rava Secure Massive Summary Judgment Victory Arising Out Of A Tragic Construction Accident With A Demand Of $30 Million Dollars

January 18, 2024

GVK recently obtained a dismissal of a plaintiff’s Labor Law 240(1) claim arising out of a tragic construction site accident with a demand of $30 million dollars. Plaintiff claimed that he injured himself on a construction project when he drove a scissor lift off a temporary ramp on a construction project located in Brooklyn.  Our clients were the owner and general contractor for the building, which means that we were first in line for the potential and massive exposure of the extraordinary protections of Labor Law 240(1) (the falling object and falling worker statute in New York).  GVK made several highly nuanced and sophisticated arguments in support of a dismissal of that claim.

And the Court accepted one of those arguments.  Although plaintiff argued that because he fell from an elevation on a construction project that he was automatically entitled to summary judgment on liability under Labor Law 240(1), the Court relied on the ample case law from our memorandum of law showing that the temporary ramp off which plaintiff fell “was not a tool use in the performance of the plaintiff’s work.  Rather, it was a ‘passageway’ from one place of work to another.  “The distinction is critical”, the Court continued, “because an accident arising on such a passageway does not lie within the purview” of Labor Law 240(1).  In other words, the ramp was not the functional equivalent of a safety device enumerated and required by Labor Law 240(1).

The decision emphasizes the importance of having skilled appellate and Labor Law attorneys in defending these types of cases, because these types of arguments can be (and often are) frequently overlooked.  In this case, the decision has the potential to save our clients millions of dollars.

If you would like any more information about the decision and a copy of our briefs, or if you would like GVK to assist your client in the defense (including motion practice and any appellate work) in these types of high exposure cases in Labor Law matters, please feel free to contact: Howard Klar, Jay Rava, or C. Briggs Johnson at your convenience.