New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JACOBS v. STATE OF NEW YORK and STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, #2002-018-179, Claim No. 102927, Motion No. M-65536


Claimant's motion for summary judgment motion is granted pursuant to CPLR 3212 on their claim for damages under §240(1) of the New York State Labor Law.

Case Information

BRIAN JACOBS and REBECCA M. JACOBS The Court has amended the caption sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court has amended the caption sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Diane L. Fitzpatrick
Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 8, 2002

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimants bring this motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212 on

their claim for damages under Labor Law §240(1). The Defendant does not oppose the motion.

Claimant,tttt[t] in support of this motion, submits copies of the claim and amended claim, defendant's answer, his affidavit, letter of Attorney James Brady, acknowledging on behalf of the State that it was the owner of the property at the State University of New York at Morrisville (hereinafter SUNY Morrisville) at the time of the accident, contract between the State and Arthur R. Mack Construction Co., Inc., for the Auto Technology Building at SUNY Morrisville, deposition testimony of Nathan Mather, Arthur R. Mack Project Manager for the SUNY Morrisville Auto Tech Center construction project on the date of the accident, and the deposition testimony of Anthony J. Pettinelli, President of Tony's Ornamental Iron Works Corporation, the sub-contractor on the SUNY Morrisville Auto Tech Center construction project, and photocopied pictures.

From these submissions it appears that the State, as the property owner of SUNY Morrisville, contracted with Arthur R. Mack Construction Company, Inc., for construction of the SUNY Morrisville Auto Technology Building. Arthur R. Mack Construction Company, Inc., sub-contracted with Tony's Ornamental Iron Works to supply fabricated steel for the project. In turn, Tony's Ornamental Iron Works sub-contracted with Pardee Construction to erect the steel. On July 21, 2000, claimant was employed by Pardee Construction working on the Auto Technology Building at SUNY Morrisville. Claimant was connecting steel beams approximately 20 feet above the ground reaching this elevation by climbing a ladder and then onto the beam. On this date, the beam on which claimant was working became disconnected and he and the beam fell to the ground. There were no safety devices to protect him from such a fall. As a result of the fall claimant sustained injuries.

Labor Law §240(1) provides in pertinent part:
"All contractors and owners and their agents, the erection,
demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing
of a building or structure shall furnish or erect, or cause to be
furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding,
hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces,
irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed,
placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so

The Court of Appeals has held that a violation of this statutory provision by an owner or contractor which results in an injury to a worker involved in an enumerated activity, proximately caused by the failure to provide any safety devices at the building work site, results in absolute liability imposed upon the owner or contractor without consideration to rules and regulations, contracts, or customs and practices (Zimmer v Chemung County Perfoming Arts, Inc., 65 NY2d 513). The statute was intended to protect workers while employed in one of the enumerated activities from the hazards related to the effects of gravity (See, Ray v Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., 256 AD2d 1070; Reed v State of New York, 249 AD2d 719). To prevail, a claimant need only prove that the statute was violated and the violation was the proximate cause of the injuries sustained (See, Bland v Manocherian, 66 NY2d 452).

Claimant has established the following facts: that defendant was the owner of the building under construction; claimant was performing work erecting steel for this building, this work involved an elevated work site; claimant was injured when the steel beam became disconnected and fell to the ground causing claimant to fall approximately 20 feet; no safety devices were provided; claimant suffered injuries as a result of this fall. The Court finds that on the proof submitted claimant has established a prima facie case under Labor Law §240(1).

Accordingly, the Court hereby GRANTS claimant's motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability of defendant for violation of Labor Law §240(1). A trial on the issue of damages shall be scheduled forthwith.

November 8, 2002
Syracuse, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following in deciding this motion:

Notice of motion...........................................................................................1

Affidavit of William Patrick Mullin, Esquire, in support, together

with the exhibits attached thereto......................................................2

There was no opposition from the defendant.


All references to claimant herein will be to Brian Jacobs. The claim of Rebecca Jacobs is only derivative in nature.