Michael J. Lezamiz, an associate in ADM’s New York City Office, obtained summary judgment in a Labor Law case where the plaintiff was struck by a 2 ton, 25 foot long piece of metal sheeting that fell while being hoisted by an excavator. The accident occurred on a private beach owned by the client during a public works project meant to reduce erosion to the beach, which was helmed by the Army Corps of Engineers and executed by a general contractor hired by the Army Corps.
Mr. Lezamiz’s questioning at the pre-trial depositions of all parties confirmed that the property owner had no right to control the ongoing work despite the project location on the owner’s beach.
Mr. Lezamiz filed a motion seeking to dismiss the action against the property owner at the conclusion of discovery, arguing that, although they are the fee owner of the property in which the accident occurred, the property owner was not an “owner” per the Labor Law since it had no right to control the work performed by plaintiff or any right to impose safety standards for the work.
The Court granted the Motion and dismissed the action against our client. The Court agreed that, though the client was the owner of the beach where the accident occurred, the client did not have the right to control the work and could not be liable under the labor law. In doing so, the Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the fee owner inherently has control over work being performed on their property, particularly in light of the nature of the project and citation to evidence obtained and highlighted by Mr. Lezamiz demonstrating the client’s lack of control over the project.