Owners of one and two-family homes are typically exempt from Labor Law §240 and 241, except in situations where they “direct or control” the work. In Snyder v. Gnall, the Third Department in New York recently held that despite clear involvement by the owner in the construction project, his actions did not rise to the level of direction or control.
The owner was identified on the building permit as the general contractor; he personally arranged for building inspections; he hired all contractors and sub-contractors; and he ordered and paid for certain building materials. However, because all of these activities took place pursuant to directions or recommendations set forth in plaintiff’s comprehensive proposal, the Court held the owner’s participation was not as significant to support the conclusion that he directed or controlled the work. The claims were thus dismissed.