Clarke v. Fieldbridge Associates

KINGS COUNTY
Torts

New York Law Journal

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Justice David Schmidt

KTS Development moved for summary judgment dismissing the causes of action and cross claims asserted against it in this personal injury action. Clarke was injured when he was struck on the head by a slab of concrete that fell from the ceiling while walking to his vehicle in the parking garage of the complex where he resided. KTS was hired to perform maintenance and repairs to the garage structure and concrete patio above the garage. Clarke argued KTS negligently performed the maintenance and repair work, and negligently hired and supervised subcontractors P&R Ironworks and Americas General. The court found KTS made a prima facie showing that it merely exercised incidental control over the subcontractors, thus was not liable for the negligent acts of independent contractors. Yet, it ruled KTS failed to show the work performed by the subcontractors, including jack hammering, was not inherently dangerous, noting such exception applied when it appeared both the work involved a risk of harm inherent in its nature and the employer recognized, or should, that risk in advance of the contract. Thus, whether the work was inherently dangerous was a question of fact for the jury, precluding summary judgment.

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