Volunteer Not Afforded Scaffold Law Protection

In Stringer v. Musacchia, the plaintiff, a hunting enthusiast, volunteered to build a shed on the defendant’s land in exchange for a chance to hunt for turkey with the defendant, a prominent cable television bow hunter. While building this shed, the plaintiff was injured after he fell 8 to 10 feet from a ladder. He sued the defendant citing a violation of Labor Law §240(1). In dismissing the plaintiff’s claim, the NY Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiff lacked the requisite status as an employee to pursue such a claim because the plaintiff was not paid for his work; was not obligated to finish the shed; and was not personally directed by the defendant on how to do the job.