New York Team’s Win Limits Scope of Property Owners’ Duties to Workers for Hazards Inherent in Their Work

Black and yellow warning hazard stripes

The plaintiff, who was 25 years old on the date of loss, claimed that he tripped and fell on loose wood debris on the stairs that he believed came from the nearby dumpsters.

May 20, 2024
Lewis Brisbois Newsroom

New York, N.Y. (May 9, 2024) - New York Partners Jennifer Oxman and Andrew Harms recently secured dismissal of a personal injury plaintiff’s complaint on summary judgment in Queens County, with a state judge accepting their argument that a porter who allegedly tripped and fell on loose wood in a stairwell had no cause of action against the property owner because it was his job to clean the stairs in the first instance. The porter was not an employee of the property owner, but rather an employee of a property management company. Therefore, the workers compensation bar did not apply to the employee’s claims.

In a four-page decision, Justice Chereé A. Buggs of Queens County Supreme Court found that plaintiff’s duties as a porter included cleaning the stairwell and that he saw and cleaned loose pieces of wood on occasions prior to his accident. Justice Buggs held that while the wood debris likely came from an “outside source”, i.e. a contractor performing work at a neighboring building, the source of the debris was not relevant. Rather, what mattered was the fact that the hazard upon which plaintiff tripped was “inherent in or related to” plaintiff’s work responsibilities. By contrast, Justice Buggs held that the contractor who allegedly was the source of the wood was not entitled to summary judgment under the same legal theory because it arguably caused and created the hazard upon which plaintiff tripped.


Arrange No Cost Consultation

Subscribe to Construction Defect Journal

Construction Defect Journal Archives - Recent CD News for Construction Claims Professionals


Construction Defect Journal is aggregated from a variety of news sources, article submissions, contributors, and information from industry professionals.

No content on this site should be construed as legal advice or expert opinion. By viewing this site you agree to be bound by its terms and conditions


Copyright 2024 - Construction Defect Journal – All Rights Reserved