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Developer Wins Summary Judgment Defeating $4.5 Million Worksite Injury Demand

Case Study

Developer Wins Summary Judgment Defeating $4.5 Million Worksite Injury Demand

July 19, 2018

A Western New York developer won a summary judgment in the Erie County Supreme Court defeating a plaintiff’s $4.5 million demand for a worksite injury.

The action stemmed from the plaintiff’s injury on a construction site owned by our client. Site managers — contractors rather than employees of the developer—summoned the plaintiff to the site trailer to discuss a physical altercation involving the plaintiff. To enter, the plaintiff ascended the trailer’s only set of stairs—but, during the subsequent discussion, the plaintiff abruptly moved to a different door (not equipped with stairs), unlocked it, and knowingly jumped down to the ground. While the plaintiff did not request medical assistance at the time, he later claimed he had sustained injuries as a result of the leap. Alleging a litany of conditions and citing multiple surgeries, the plaintiff brought a personal injury claim. His attorneys demanded a $4.5 million settlement.

Sharon Angelino and Peter F. Brady motioned for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff’s actions were the “sole proximate cause” of his injuries—which would absolve our client from liability under New York Labor Law § 240(1). The court granted the motion, removing our client from all liability.