Soriano v. St. Mary's Indian Orthodox Church of Rockland
NEW YORK COUNTY
Justice Eileen Rakower
Worker Soriano sought to recover damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained after he fell from a ladder in the course of his employment with Industrial Door and Glass. He moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability against St. Mary's Indian Orthodox Church on his Labor Law §240 claim. St. Mary's moved for summary judgment dismissal. The court noted the parties did not dispute the ladder gave out and Soriano fell, or that the ladder was unsecured and lacked safety devices as contemplated by §240(1). The issue was whether Soriano's work at the church constituted a protected activity under §240(1). Soriano characterized his work as "repair" of a building, while defendants characterized the work as "routine maintenance" to panes of glass, which was outside the scope of §240(1). The court noted there was no "bright line" rule regarding tasks constituting repair work covered under §240(1), or what activities were deemed to be routine maintenance, which was not covered under §240(1). It ruled that at the time Soriano was injured he was not engaged in work protected and covered under §240(1), but routine maintenance in a non-construction context, granting St. Mary's summary judgment dismissal.