Are Defendants Liable Under Section 240(1) If An Accident Happens Due to Inadequate Safety ?

The case of Kadoic v. 1154 First Ave. Tenants Corp. (277 A.D.2d 66, 277 A.D.2d 66, 716 N.Y.S.2d 386 [1st Dept. 2000]) clearly illustrates the proposition that the plaintiffs negligence in handling the work to be performed will not transform ordinary negligence into the "sole proximate cause" of the accident. In Kadoic, plaintiff fell when the weight of the sign being removed from the side of a building caused him to loose his balance. The court held: Plaintiff presented an essentially consistent version of the circumstances of the accident in both his deposition testimony and affidavit, demonstrating that, whether or not the sign he was attempting to remove actually touched him or the ladder, the force of the sudden release of the sign caused him to lose his balance and fall. Regardless of the propriety of the method plaintiff used to remove the sign, it is plain that the ladder he used was not an adequate safety device for the task he was performing, rendering defendants, who admittedly provided no safety devices, absolutely liable under section 240(1) ( Dunn v. Consolidated Edison Co., 272 A.D.2d 129, 707 N.Y.S.2d 420).