Doug Goldberg successfully defeats Labor Law motion for summary judgment creating issue of fact on sole proximate cause

This action, active in the Supreme Court, Orange County, seeks monetary damages for a fall from a ladder. Plaintiff, while employed by a cable company, had positioned a ladder against a telephone pole trying to pull fiber optic cable through a conduit attached to the pole. The feet of the ladder were on a steep downhill slope from the pole. While on the ladder, it slid down the side of the pole and plaintiff fell off. Evidence showed that the opposite side of the pole had nearly flat ground.

Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on Labor Law Sections 200, 240, and 241 (6). The defendant’s strategy was to show the court that plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his accident in the placement of the ladder against the wrong side of the pole. The co-defendant, owner of the property, cross moved for common law indemnity arguing that our client, as general contractor, was “closer to” the subcontractor (plaintiff’s employer) than they were despite the fact that no-one directed or controlled the sub-contractor’s work.

The court denied all motions and found issues of fact as to the sole proximate cause issue, thus allowing the case to go to the jury. This victory allows the jury to hear the facts of the case including the fact that plaintiff himself set up the ladder in the wrong location. The jury will then be able to determine whether plaintiff’s actions caused this accident.