McKenzie v. Cappelli Enterprises

NEW YORK COUNTY
Labor Law

New York Law Journal

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Justice Shlomo Hagler

McKenzie, a roofer, sued to recover monetary damages for personal injuries he suffered in 2007 when, while standing on a ladder, he was burned by hot asphalt that splashed on him after he set it down on the roof of a building under construction. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing McKenzie's injury was not the result of the application of gravity, as he did not fall and an object did not fall or strike him. McKenzie contended he was injured because he was required to climb a ladder to a section of the roof that was about 15 feet higher than the main area of the roof. He also argued that the 500-degree asphalt was an object that should have been secured, in that it was inherently dangerous if spilled, regardless of what height it fell from, and should not have been moved by hand in an uncovered, unsecured bucket. The court determined McKenzie's accident was not the result of extraordinary elevation risks, but was caused by the "usual and ordinary dangers of a construction site." Therefore, it dismissed McKenzie's Labor Law §240(1) claim, holding that his injuries did not directly flow from the application of the force of gravity to an object.

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