Supreme Court Upholds Decision in Plumber’s Fall Through Floor
Supreme Court Upholds Injured Plumber Ruling
A recent decision by New York's Supreme Court upheld a ruling that a contractor and building owner were liable for injuries suffered by a plumber who fell through a hole in a floor at a job site.
"This decision is a simple example of labor law doing what it is supposed to do: It shifts the burden to the ones most capable of protecting the workers at a construction site – the owner of the property and the ones most in control of what is going on there," said Raymond C. Silverman, a Partner at Parker Waichman LLP. "Labor Law § 240 (1) works; it is designed to provide exactly the kind of protection that it is providing."
In this case, the plumber seeking damages for his injuries was working on the Double Tree Hotel at 8 Stone Street in New York. At the time of the accident, the plumber and a co-worker were installing pipes on the ninth floor of the hotel. The co-worker asked the plumber to step back to see if the pipe they were setting was straight. The plumber fell through a small rectangular hole in the floor. He stopped when his hips fell through the hole but was injured even more when he attempted to stop his fall by grabbing onto a metal stud. He claims that while grabbing that metal stud, he injured tendons and nerves on four of his fingers on his right hand.
The hole was not protected by any barriers as it should have, the plumber contended in his lawsuit. His lawsuit was originally filed against the hotel's owner and the construction firm in charge of the project: Al-Stone LLC, Tritel Construction Group LLC and Broadway Wallboard Inc.