Can a New York Labor Law claim stemming from an employee’s fall from a wet ladder succeed despite some inconsistencies between what he wrote on an incident report and his testimony in court?
New York’s Appellate Division, First Department found that the employee was entitled to partial summary judgment since his supervisor witnessed the fall and it was his co-workers’ fault the ladder was wet.
Slipped while trying to close valve on broken pipe
Nathaniel Lindsay was working for Five Star Carting when he fell from an unsecured, wet A-frame ladder while attempting to close the valve on a broken water pipe.
As Lindsay slipped while on the ladder, he tried to use the wrench he was holding to prevent himself from falling, resulting in a shoulder injury. His supervisor witnessed the incident.
Company claims issues of fact over worker’s credibility
Lindsay filed a Labor Law suit against Five Star, claiming the company failed to provide him with proper protection while he was exposed to an elevation-related risk.
Five Star argued that the written description Lindsay provided in an incident report was inconsistent with his testimony, which raised issues of fact regarding credibility. The company claimed that was enough to disqualify summary judgment for Lindsay.
A lower court granted Lindsay summary judgment because the judge found his testimony credible and the supervisor’s testimony corroborated the details Lindsay provided.
Co-workers broke pipe, caused dangerous condition
An appeals court agreed with the lower court, finding that there was sufficient evidence to prove how the injury occurred.
The appeals court also found Lindsay was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim based on the fact that it was Five Star’s own “workers who broke the pipe that caused the leak, and therefore created the dangerous condition that led to the accident.”