June 16, 2022

DSB obtained summary judgment in a Labor Law action venued in Supreme Court, Bronx County where plaintiff fell from a ladder and sustained a displaced fracture of the left olecranon; disruption of the articular surface of the left elbow joint, and surrounding nerve damage that required open reduction and internal fixation with an olecranon plate and bi-cortical screws, a bust fracture of the lumbar spine at L1, and compression fracture of the thoracic spine at T12 that requires open reduction of T11 to L3 with spinal implants, pedicle screws and segmental Instrumentation on April 5, 2019, and an additional surgery to remove the hardware. The issue before the court was whether plaintiff was a volunteer or a protected laborer under the statute. Plaintiff argued that while he was not paid for the work, he was nevertheless an employee because he maintained the building in exchange for not having to pay rent. However, through careful questioning at plaintiff’s EBT, he admitted he lived at the property rent free for many years before he undertook any repair work on the building. He further admitted that the repair work began only after his wife moved in and after they decided their long-term plan was to purchase the house. Plaintiff testified that he did not receive any compensation, and he did not expect any compensation. The plaintiff admitted the defendant never requested that the work be performed and was not notified of the work. Plaintiff conceded he did not know what caused the ladder to fall, and that there was nothing wrong with the ladder. In the end, the Court dismissed the case holding plaintiff was a volunteer, and that defendant did not have any supervision or control over the work that caused the injury.

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