Gonzalez v. Delric Construction
Justice Judith McMahon
Gonzalez sued for injuries allegedly sustained from violations of Labor Law §240(1). He asserted claims of general negligence arguing defendants failed to timely and appropriately protect an unguarded pit on a construction site where he was working, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. Subcontractor AG Construction argued that installing the guardrails and covering the pits was outside the scope of their original contract with general contractor Delric Construction. The court found Gonzalez established entitlement to summary judgment on his §240(1) claim by showing he fell into a six foot deep pit on the worksite that was not covered, and he was not equipped with a safety harness at the time of the accident. It ruled defendants failed to present any triable issues of fact, noting evidence demonstrated that Delric and owner Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) failed to provide appropriate safety devices and failed to cover up the pit. The court stated Gonzalez's alleged negligence in not wearing a safety harness, as he worked at ground level, was not the proximate cause of the accident. It also found AG was acting as statutory agent of DASNY and Delric as it had authority to supervise and control the work, thus was liable under §240(1).