Worker's Injury Claim After Disregarding Instructions to Wear Safety Equipment

In Cahill v. Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Auth. (4 NY3d 35, 39 - 40, 823 N.E.2d 439, 790 N.Y.S.2d 74 [2004]), the Court, reversing a grant of summary judgment to an injured worker who was injured in a fall after disregarding instructions to wear safety equipment, found that although "the word recalcitrant' fits plaintiff in this case well . . . the controlling question, however, is not whether he was recalcitrant,' but whether a jury could have found that his own conduct, rather than any violation of Labor Law 240(1), was the sole proximate cause of his accident." The court found that a jury could have found that there were adequate safety devices available, that the plaintiff knew they were available and that he was expected to wear them, notwithstanding that the instructions had been given weeks prior to the accident, that he chose for no good reason not to use the proper device and that he would not have been injured had he not made that choice, and that such findings would require the conclusion that defendant was not liable under section 240(1).