Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Complaint Against Contractor in Construction Accident Case

In a decision dated July 9, 2018, the Hon. R. Bruce Cozzens, Jr. granted our client, Skanska USA Building Inc., summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety as a matter of law. The plaintiff commenced this action alleging personal injuries as the result of a trip and fall on a construction project. It is alleged that the defendant was negligent for allowing debris to be on the job site and for failing to properly illuminate the job site.  Additionally, the plaintiff alleged violations of Labor Law §§200, 240 and 241(6).  In support of its summary judgment motion, Skanska asserted that the plaintiff’s conduct was the sole proximate and superseding cause of his accident. It argued that, contrary to plaintiff’s claims, he was not walking through a passageway, but rather, chose to walk through a planter located under a stairway instead of walking around it. Further, the plaintiff did not oppose Skanska’s motion to the extent of dismissing the causes of action for common law negligence and violations of Labor Law §§240 and 241(6), with the exception of the alleged violations of Industrial Code Rules 23-1.7(e)(1) and (2) and 23-2.1(a)(1), claiming that the planter was actually a passageway. In reaching its decision to dismiss the complaint, the Court determined that the plaintiff’s choice to walk through a planter, rather than walk around it, was the sole and superseding proximate cause of his injuries.

Carl Fumia v. Skanska USA Building Inc., Index No. 606950/14 (Nassau Co. Sup. Ct., July 9, 2018)

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This post was written by Sander Rothchild