Quintanilla v. United Talmudical Academy Torah V'Yirah
Justice David Schmidt
Worker Quintanilla was injured in a fall from the rooftop of a school building owned by defendant, which rented the auditorium to a catering company. Quintanilla testified that he fell straight through the ceiling to the first floor of the building and that, due to his weight and the speed of the fall, he made a hole in the roof of the structure and fell through that hole. He moved for partial summary judgment on his Labor Law §240(1) cause of action, arguing that at the time of the accident he was engaged in an elevation-related activity namely "cleaning"and that the defendants' failure to provide him with any safety devices proximately caused his injuries. Defendants argued that the statute did not apply because Quintanilla was performing routine maintenance in a non-construction, non-renovation context when he fell. The court found that Quintanilla was engaged in a protected activity at the time of the accident and defendants failed to provide him with adequate safety devices. The court, however, held that a material question of fact exists as to whether Quintanilla understood the maintenance manager's instructions and whether his failure to follow them was the sole proximate cause of his accident.