Property Owner Is Not Neighbor’s Keeper (NY)

In order for a plaintiff to maintain a viable claim under the labor law against a property owner, the property owner must own, or at least have some interest in the property where a plaintiff is injured.

In Alvarez v Hudson Val. Realty Corp., 23 NY Slip Op 04300, plaintiff commenced an action against Hudson Valley Realty Corp., alleging violations of Labor Law §§§ 240(1), 241(6), and 200.  In defense of the matter, Hudson Valley argued that it did not own the property where plaintiff was injured, but rather, was the owner of the abutting property.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, upheld the trial court’s ruling, granting Hudson Valley’s motion for summary judgment.  The Court held that Hudson Valley demonstrated its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the causes of action asserting violations of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) by establishing that it was an abutting property owner with no property interest in the premises upon which the plaintiff was injured, and it neither contracted for nor controlled the construction work on the premises.  Further, the defendant demonstrated its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the causes of action alleging common-law negligence and violation of Labor Law § 200 by establishing that it did not own, occupy, or control the premises and that it did not have the authority to supervise or control the manner in which the work was performed.

Special thanks to Johan Obregon for his contribution.

For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at dricci@wcmlaw.com.