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O’Brien and Farmer Obtain Unanimous Decision in Labor Law Litigation

June 15, 2020

Jim O’Brien (Partner-White Plains) and Jana Farmer (Partner-White Plains) secured a unanimous decision from the Appellate Division, First Department on behalf of a professional engineering firm in a Labor Law litigation. Plaintiff, a licensed engineer, was retained by Wilson Elser’s client to inspect a bridge via a man-lift aboard a barge; he was shaken off the lift due to wind conditions. The Bronx Supreme court sided with the plaintiff, finding issues of fact as to whether our client was a “general contractor” on a “construction project” and as to whether the plaintiff was a “construction worker.” The Appellate Division, on the other hand, adopted Jim and Jana’s arguments in total, holding that “it is clear that [plaintiff] was not engaged in an activity within the ambit of Labor Law §240(1) and 241(6) at the time of his accident.” Plaintiff’s common law negligence claim also was dismissed because plaintiff’s accident arose from the means and methods by which he gained access to his work and we established that our client did not control the plaintiff’s means and methods. This decision saved our client hundreds of thousands in indemnity payments as well as the costs of trial.

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