Commercial tenants / Sublessors are responsible entities under the Labor Law

Pursuant to binding Court of Appeals precedents, as well as Appellate Division, First and Second Department precedents, commercial tenants/sublessors are responsible entities for purposes of Labor Law Section 240(1).

See Glielmi v. Toys “R” Us, Inc., 62 N.Y.2d 664, 666, 476 N.Y.S.2d 283, 284, 464 N.E.2d 981, 982 (1984) (“The jury was charged that the owner trustees and the tenant were to be considered a single unit for purposes of determining liability to the injured plaintiff. There was evidence from which the jury could properly have found that both were absolutely liable under subdivision 1 of section 240 of the Labor Law”); Godoy v. Baisley Lumber Corp., 40 A.D.3d 920, 921, 837 N.Y.S.2d 682, 683- 684 (2d Dep’t 2007); Murphy v. Sawmill Construction Corp., 17 A.D.3d 422, 424, 792 N.Y.S.2d 616, 618 (2d Dep’t 2005) (“We note that the term ‘owner,’ for purposes of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6), has been construed to include not only property owners but, under certain circumstances, also those who have an interest in property, such as easement holders and lessees (see Kane v. Coundorous, 293 A.D.2d 309, 739 N.Y.S.2d 711;  Copertino v. Ward, 100 A.D.2d 565, 473 N.Y.S.2d 494).”); Bell v. Bengomo Realty, Inc., 36 A.D.3d 479, 480, 829 N.Y.S.2d 42, 44 (1st Dep’t 2007) (“Summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on the issue of liability under Labor Law Section 240 (1) should have been granted as against Bengomo Realty as the owner of the property); see Coleman v. City of New York, 91 N.Y.2d 821, 822-823, 666 N.Y.S.2d 553, 689 N.E.2d 523 [1997]; Spagnuolo v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 8 A.D.3d 64, 778 N.Y.S.2d 23 [2004] ), and Willow Media who, as lessee, contracted for the work (see Guzman v. L.M.P. Realty Corp., 262 A.D.2d 99, 691 N.Y.S.2d 483 [1999] ).”); Meade v. Rock-McGraw, Inc., 307 A.D.2d 156, 158-159, 760 N.Y.S.2d 39, 41-42 (1st Dep’t 2003) (“After discovery, plaintiff moved for summary judgment against defendants, Rock-McGraw, Inc., the building owner, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., the building lessee, and Morgan Stanley & Co., Incorporated, the sublessee of the 44th floor, on his Labor Law Section 240(1) claim, arguing that the ladder was not secured by another worker, that the ladder fell because the floor was slippery and the ladder lacked footings and that defendants had breached their duty to insure that the ladder was placed so as to give him proper protection. …Depending on the fact finder’s determination, plaintiff may, however, establish a section 240(1) violation for failure to provide a proper safety device.”); Kane v. Coundorous, 293 A.D.2d 309, 311, 739 N.Y.S.2d 711, 714 (1st Dep’t 2002) (“A lessee of property under construction is deemed to be an ‘owner’ for purposes of liability under Article 10 of New York’s Labor Laws (see, e.g., Glielmi v. Toys “R” Us, 62 N.Y.2d 664, 476 N.Y.S.2d 283, 464 N.E.2d 981; Bart v. Universal Pictures, 277 A.D.2d 4,5, 715 N.Y.S.2d 240; Tate v. Clancy Cullen Storage Co., 171 A.D.2d 292, 295, 575 N.Y.S.2d 832; Copertino v. Ward, 100 A.D.2d 565, 566, 473 N.Y.S.2d 494).”); Wehmeyer v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 248 A.D.2d 187, 188, 669 N.Y.S.2d 578, 579 (1st Dep’t 1998).

by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

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