Williams v. Town of Pittstown
Justice William E. McCarthy
Worker Williams appealed from an order denying his motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability on his Labor Law §240(1) suit. Town of Pittstown cross-appealed on a denial of its motion for partial summary judgment seeking dismissal of Williams' common-law negligence and §200 claims. Williams was injured when a 6,000 pound counterweight fell and crushed his foot requiring a below-the-knee amputation of his leg. The court found the Supreme Court erred in denying Williams' motion, noting §240(1) was applicable as the Town failed to provide any safety devices. It stated even if the forklift could be considered such safety device, it was inadequate as it failed to perform the function of preventing the unsecured counterweight from falling proximately causing Williams' injuries. Further, the court ruled the Town did not demonstrate that Williams was a recalcitrant worker. It stated even if Williams' alleged poor judgment was a factor, same merely constituted comparative fault, and was not a defense under §240(1). Thus, Williams was entitled to partial summary judgment as to liability on the §24091) cause of action, while the town's motion for dismissal of the negligence and §200 claims was properly denied.