N.Y. High Court Says Landlord Liable for Injury to Tenant’s Contractor

By | April 28, 2008

  • April 28, 2008 at 12:30 pm
    Cigarbat says:
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    What dysfunctional world will it be in years to come when everyone is not held responsible for their own actions?

    If a tenant hires me to change a light bulb and I fall off my own broken ladder, do I get to sue and own the building?

    Am I going to be frisked for tools whenever I enter a building? Will guards be posted at my rental in case I covertly hire a chimney sweep?

    What if I have a cob-web cleaner over for lunch and he slips me a “Mickey” cleans up the place, drops an invoice in my in-box, then files suit against the building owner cause’ he was allergic to fly larvae? Wouldn’t he be in Cob-Web Heaven?

    What is almost laughable is; the “mechanic” who failed in his job to properly maintain a lift is suing the building owner which had no knowledge of these trespassers.

    When does someone stand up and say “I’m responsible for my own actions.”

    Does that mean Politicians and Judges are pathetic Lawyers looking to grub money from everyone?

  • April 28, 2008 at 12:50 pm
    Rick Longueira says:
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    The Labor Law is a travesty and a noose around the property owner’s neck. In this case, the landlord has to rely on the indemnity clause in the lease agreement, which (hopefully) is backed by an additional insured endorsement fro, then tenant, in favor of the landlord.
    Can the tenant’s carrier object to defend and indemnity because the tenant willfully(allegedly?) violated the lease? Here, the landlord has no control over the situation, but winds up being responsible because they have the deep pocket.

  • April 28, 2008 at 1:13 am
    Labor Law Nightmare says:
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    There is no surprise about this because of NYS Labor Law 240/241. It’s a law that has been on the books since the late 1890’s to protect the workers on “high-rise” construction jobs in NYC from financial ruin if they were injured or killed from a fall OR from a falling object. Even though worker’s comp was since instituted, this law remains on the books. The injured worker can file a WC claim and receieve full benefits AND sue his employer and property owner under their respective GL policies; it’s Strict Liability-no defense will work. It’s a windfall for the legal community but don’t blame them, they’re just playing by the rules (240/241). The blame is with the NYS Legislature for not repealing this outrageous ‘lottery’. NYS is the last state to continue this madness, no other has it on the books.

  • April 28, 2008 at 1:18 am
    Labor Law Nightmare Fan says:
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    …if they were injured or killed from a fall OR from a falling object..

    Thanks for the explanation.

    I wrote a special event years ago at the Armory in NYC. My insd. was holding an exposition. She hired an electrical contractor to adjust some of the lighting. The contractor’s employee fell about from a ladder, about a two foot fall. My insd’s CGL carrier paid about $800,000 on that claim.

  • April 28, 2008 at 1:25 am
    Cigarbat says:
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    The NYS Legislature is made up of Lawyers. Hence the blame all lawyers.

  • April 28, 2008 at 1:25 am
    Rick Longueira says:
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    First, please excuse the spelling in my initial comment. Second, I must respectfully disagree with your comments, as the legislators (led by Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver of the law firm Weitz & Luxemburg) have done everything they can to keep this law on the books. After all, the legislators are attorneys for the most part and in turn, would not repeal a law that is a winfall to their pockets. I’m not calling for a total repeal; get rid of strict liability and make it a negligence driven law.

  • April 28, 2008 at 1:25 am
    Labor Law Nightmare says:
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    What is so troubling about it is making sure your commecial property insureds (one and two-family residences are exempt from the law) obtain proper certs with Addt’l Insured status from any contractor type that will be working from ladders, scaffolding or on roofs. They are the unwitting victims of the law; even though they don’t control the work they are guilty….end of story.

  • April 28, 2008 at 1:39 am
    Labor Law Nightmare says:
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    Rick:

    No question that you are right about Mr. Silver but, like it or not, until this thing is repealed he and his ilk are reaping millions lawfully from this law. The sad fact is the NYS Trial Lawyers Association carries a lot more weight in Albany than the insurance or construction industries combined. I don’t think things will start to change until commercial property owners either cannot get or have to pay far more in premiums for the GL portion of their policies; and only then if the voters who own such properties start screaming to thier representatives, but I’m not going to the bank on that yet either.

  • April 28, 2008 at 2:35 am
    joe says:
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    this state elected a carpetbagger to be it’s jr. senator, spitzer to be the gov, plus numerous other congressmen/senators with similar mindsets.

    whaddaya expect from it’s courts????

  • April 28, 2008 at 4:13 am
    mcheck57 says:
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    Are the insurance companies losing money on policies that protect building owners from these types of cases? I doubt it. Once again its the lawyer’s fault, right. Without the lawyers bringing these suits there would be no need for the coverage and the carriers will lose their “hard earned” premiums

  • April 28, 2008 at 5:01 am
    wudchuck says:
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    so, let me get this straight and offer a solution:

    1) so if the landlord has to pay for the medical bill, then it had better be for the medical bill and nothing exhorbent beyond that. if according to the law, they have to….

    2) now, since it has been a violation of the lease, then i would evict the lessee out for violation of the agreement.

    3) now, sue the tenant for the cost of the medical bill since my insurance had to pay for the bill (or at least have the insurance sue the tenant).

    4) so if the lift failed – this was a 1500 lb unit, how many folks were working? i only see 1 person that was hurt. where was the lift? was it craned? sounds like that the contractor did not faithfully protect the worker or was the worker working on his own, pretending to work for the company?

  • April 28, 2008 at 5:09 am
    say it ain't so, Joe says:
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    Joe –
    Perhaps you didn’t read the earlier comment. These laws, 240/241, are from the late 1800s. These were adopted before NY’s junior senator’s parents were born, and before client # 9’s grandparents married. You’re falling into that stereotypical conservative trap of blaming anyone whom you think might be a liberal. That’s not the problem here.

    The problem is having a law with absolute or strict liability that serves as the neglignece attorneys retirement fund. They are losuy laws that the other states got rid of long ago, other states that you seem to have respect for.

  • April 29, 2008 at 8:26 am
    Iaweagan says:
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    Only in America!

  • April 29, 2008 at 10:41 am
    Stat Guy says:
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    I have a question: if the strict liability standard controls for the injury, couldn’t the landlord still countersue the tenant for violating the contract? And the CGL insurer then subrogate against the tenant for the amount they paid out for the workers’ recovery? That could settle the claim to the point that the worker would only have the WC benefits, no other enrichment….

  • April 29, 2008 at 10:43 am
    wudchuck says:
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    that is what i was stating earlier…why not sue and countersue…seems only fair, since you violated the lease.

  • April 29, 2008 at 11:00 am
    say it ain't so, again says:
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    All the suing, countersuing, subrogating, holding harmless, etc., is why insurance companies don’t like to write contractors in NY. And the reason the state legisalture doesn’t repeal these RIDICULOUS laws is that the state legislature is made up of LAWYERS who don’t want to hurt their profession.

  • April 29, 2008 at 11:09 am
    wudchuck says:
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    and who gets all the money — da lawyers!

    what a life…maybe that is the profession i needed!

  • April 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm
    Wudchuck, No says:
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    You don’t seem that slimey as to become an attorney!

  • April 29, 2008 at 12:44 pm
    Labor law Nightmare says:
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    What I think is being misunderstood here is that under strict laibility the negligent party is liable without recourse. One can sue and counter sue until the cows come home but to no avail, I don’t think you’d find any attorney will to take the case on contigency because he will know it’s a loser. The employer contractor AND the property owner are liable in a fall or falling object injurty…period, end of discussion except for “how much”. very few of these suits actually see the light of day inside the court room, most are negotiated settlements with the insurers. I have two labor law claims cooking right now, one against a conractor I insure and the other a commercial property owner. neither injuries were horrifyingly bad, broken wrist on one, broken elbow and jaw the other and both look like settlements of not less than $500K. BTW, both workers fully recovered and back at work without restriction. Best game in town….for them.

  • May 23, 2008 at 11:40 am
    KELLI says:
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    IF THIS WAS A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY AND THE LANDLORD HIRED A CARPET CLEANER TO CLEAN AFTER THE TENANT PASSED AWAY AND ASKED THE CLEANER TO REMOVE THE CONTENTS OF THE HOUSE AND AN ANTIQUE GUN WAS FOUND AND FELL AND WENT OFF SHOOTING THE WORKER IN THE FACE CAUSING MAJOR INJURY. THE OWNER CLAIME SHE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE GUN BUT THE DEAD TENANT WAS HER MOTHER. SHOULD THIS BE STRICT LIABILITY. SHOULD SHE HAVE MADE SURE SHE INVITED WORKERS INTO A SAFE ENVIROMENT.



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