Define That Term #196
Blog Rolling

Fourth Department Issues Another Decision Regarding Labor Law 240(1) Claim Based on Fall From Truck Bed

In Amantia v Barden & Robeson Corp., 2007 NY Slip Op 02159, at issue was whether Labor Law s. 240(1)applied to the plaintiff's injuries which were sustained when the plaintiff fell from the bed of a cargo truck.  The Court explained the manner in which the accident occurred as follows:

The truck's cargo floor was 48 inches above the ground. In order to enter the cargo area of the truck, plaintiff leaned one of the (3 feet high and 4 foot wide aluminum) forms against the rear bumper of the truck and climbed up the form. When plaintiff wanted to exit the cargo area of the truck for his lunch break, he again leaned a form against the rear bumper and began to step down from the truck onto the form. On his second step, "the form tilted to the right" and plaintiff fell. Plaintiff does not know what caused the form to tilt to the right.

The Fourth Department concluded that summary judgment dismissing this claim was properly granted:

Contrary to the contention of plaintiff, his work n unloading the cargo truck, including entering and exiting the truck, does not trigger the protections of section 240 (1) "because there was no exceptionally dangerous condition posed by the elevation differential between the [cargo floor] of the truck and the ground, and there was no significant risk inherent in the particular task plaintiff was performing because of the relative elevation at which he was performing that task" (Tillman v Triou's Custom Homes, 253 AD2d 254, 257; see Toefer v Long Is. R.R., 4 NY3d 399, 408; Piccolo v St. John's Home for Aging, 11 AD3d 884, 885; Santoro v New York City Tr. Auth., 302 AD2d 581, 582; Plump v Wyoming County, 298 AD2d 886, 886-887).

It appears that this decision is in line with the recent Court of Appeal's decision in Keavey v. New York State Dormitory Auth., 2006 NY Slip Op 0344 that was previously discussed here.  In that post, I'd noted that in my opinion, the Fourth Department had issued conflicting decisions in regard to falls from truck beds that pre-dated the Court of Appeal's decision in Keavey. 

I think that despite its prior holding to the contrary in Worden v. Solvay Paperboard, LLC , the Court's decision in Amantia makes it clear that injuries sustained as a result of a fall from a truck bed will no longer form the basis for a successful Labor Law s. 240(1)in the Fourth Department.


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The Courts rational in realtion to the 241(6) cause of action is dangerous. Why wouldn't the Industrial Code Rule provisions for ladders apply sinse the"form" (not sure what that is) was being used as the functional equivelent of a ladder? Their holding opens the door for irresponsible conduct by owners and contractors.

I also question the role NYS Courts have taken with respect to 240(1). The judges don't like the law, that is clear. However, seemingly frustrated by the legislature's lack of action the Courts have taken it upon themselves to change the law.

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