Gunderman v. Sure Connect Cable Installation
Justice John Egan Jr.
Time Warner (TW) and Sure Connect Cable (SCC) appealed from a Supreme Court order granting worker Gunderman partial summary judgment on his Labor Law §240(1) claim. TW contracted with SCC to perform cable installations. Gunderman, subcontracted by SCC, sustained serious head injuries after falling from a ladder to the pavement. The court rejected outright SCC's contention that the lower court abused its discretion in granting Gunderman's motion to reargue. Further, while the law makes clear that a utility pole constitutes a structure within the meaning of §240(1), the panel stated that absent a more detailed description of the tasks required to complete the requested upgrades, it was unable to determine if the work Gunderman was performing on the day of his accident constituted an alteration under §240(1). Despite the liberal construction to be afforded §240(1) to accomplish a remedial purpose, the panel concluded the award of partial summary judgment to Gunderman was premature. It also agreed the lower court erred in denying TW summary judgment on its cross-claim for contractual indemnification against SCC as their underlying contract provided for it.