Alleged Direction of Work Trumps Summary Judgment

In Powell v. HIS Constrs., Inc., et al., 2010 NY Slip Op 06068, the First Department reversed an order granting defendant GTL Construction’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Joseph Powell allegedly sustained injuries when he fell on an unpaved section of sidewalk that was missing a concrete slab. The sidewalk was at the site of a recent construction project, for which plaintiffs maintained that GTL was the sidewalk installation contractor. Although GTL countered that it had no involvement with the project, performed only interior work, and owed no duty of care to the plaintiff, documentary and testimonial evidence indicated otherwise. The evidence established that GTL may have removed the sidewalk and/or provided directions to another sidewalk installation entity. In analyzing the matter under Espinal v. Melville Snow Contrs., the First Department reversed the lower court, holding that there was a question of fact as to GTL’s involvement in the project and its potential liability in failing to insure that the complete sidewalk was installed.

Special thanks to Lora Gleicher for her contributions to this post. If you have any questions, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.

http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_06068.htm