In Affri v. Basch, the defendant owned a two-family home and hired plaintiff to perform renovations on one of his apartments. While installing a vent on the roof of defendant’s home, plaintiff fell from a ladder and sustained severe injuries. The lower court held that defendant was entitled to summary judgment because plaintiff failed to show that the defendant maintained such a level of control over his actions as to exclude him from the Labor Law’s two-family dwelling exception.
The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision, finding that defendant had merely controlled the aesthetic decisions and exercised general supervision with respect to the project. The Court found that the fact that the defendant had requested that the vent run through the roof “did nothing more than what an ordinary homeowner would do in deciding how they wanted the home to look upon completion.”
The Court’s decision indicates that, unless a two-family dwelling homeowner provides their worker with equipment, work materials or direct supervision on the manner and method of the work, one and two family homeowners will be free from liability resulting from injuries to the workers they hired to beautify their home.
Thanks to Georgia Stagias for her contirbution to this post.