Successful Appeal to Appellate Division, First Department

September 19, 2012

London Fischer congratulates Daniel Zemann, Jr. and David Franklin on their successful appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department in the matter of Fabrizi v.1095 Avenue of the Americas, LLC, et al.

Plaintiff, an electrician, brought suit against the owners and general contractor of a Midtown Manhattan construction project as a result of serious injuries he sustained when he was struck in the right hand by a large galvanized steel pipe. The pipe which injured Plaintiff was part of the building’s permanent telecommunications infrastructure, and Plaintiff had been assigned to reposition a utility box which was connected to the bottom of the pipe. Plaintiff dismantled the underlying structural support for the pipe, leaving it secured by only compression coupling at its top, and proceeded to drill into the concrete floor underneath the pipe, which caused the pipe to fall and strike his hand. The trial court granted summary judgment to Plaintiff on his cause of action under New York Labor Law §240(1), reasoning that the defendants failed to provide Plaintiff with adequate safety equipment to protect him from an elevation-related injury.

On appeal, Mr. Zemann and Mr. Franklin argued that Plaintiff was not entitled to summary judgment because the pipe which struck him had been secured in place as part of the permanent infrastructure of the building, and because Plaintiff’s conduct in dismantling the underlying support for the pipe before drilling directly underneath it was the sole proximate cause of his injury. The Appellate Division, First Department adopted London Fischer’s argument and held that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that his injury was caused by the defendants’ purported failure to provide him with an adequate statutory safety device. Accordingly, the Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision, and held that Plaintiff was not entitled to summary judgment against London Fischer’s clients.