Landlord Responsible for Injured Worker
LVT Number: #20659
Tenant hired a contractor to do work in 11th-floor unit without landlord's knowledge or permission. The contractor's worker was injured when an air conditioner fell on him while he was trying to lift it into a ceiling position with a hoist that couldn't hold the weight. The worker sued landlord under the "scaffold law," New York State Labor Law Section 240(1). The law makes property owners liable for injuries to a person injured at a construction or alteration site if the injury is at all elevation-related. Landlord claimed that it wasn't responsible for the worker's injuries. The court and appeals court ruled for landlord and dismissed the case. The worker appealed to New York's highest court and won. The Court found that the law made landlord responsible even though the job was done by an independent contractor over which landlord had no supervision or control, and even though tenant disregarded a lease clause barring unauthorized work.
Sanatass v. Consolidated Investing Co.: 10 N.Y.3d 333, 858 N.Y.S.2d 67 (2008; Graffeo, Kay, Ciparick, Pigott, Jones, JJ; dissent by Smith, Read, JJ)