Grant of Summary Judgment for City Reversed In Labor Law §200 Case
In Parkhurst v Syracuse Regional Airport Auth., 2018 NY Slip Op 06670 (4th Dep’t Oct. 5, 2018), the plaintiff’s decedent, Michael Parkhurst, sustained injuries when he slipped and fell on plastic sheeting covering newly-laid carpet after descending a ladder while performing drywall finishing work. The plaintiff brought a Labor Law §200 claim against the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, the City Of Syracuse and Hueber-Breuer Construction Co., Inc. At the trial court level, the defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that a dangerous condition did not exist at the worksite, but rather the manner in which the plaintiff’s decedent had performed his work had caused his injuries.
On appeal, the Fourth Department found that the plastic sheeting on which the plaintiff’s decedent had slipped was placed there by defendant Hueber-Breuer Construction Co., Inc. The Court concluded that while the placement of the plastic sheeting may have been part of Hueber’s method of work, it was not a part of the decedent’s method of work.
The Fourth Department also rejected the defendants’ argument that the plastic sheeting constituted an open and obvious hazard inherent in decedent’s work, which could not serve as a basis for liability. The Court held that the issue of whether a condition was readily observable impacts on decedent’s comparative negligence, and does not negate the defendants’ duty to keep the premises reasonably safe.
The Fourth Department unanimously reversed the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment to the defendants.
Prepared by Eric W. Marriott, Esq.