On July 28, 2021, an appellate court covering appeals from Westchester Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that dismissed a Labor Law Section 240 (1) filed by an HVAC mechanic who fell 20 feet from a ladder while replacing a part of the refrigeration system. The plaintiff badly fractured his right ankle requiring several surgeries. The defective ladder was owned by the mechanics employer who could not be sued due to the Workers Compensation Law. Instead the mechanic sued the owner of the building. Heroically, video evidence confirmed that despite his ankle injury, the mechanic climbed back up a section of the ladder by using his right knee instead of his injured right foot and completed the job.
The appellate court found that the injury occurred while the mechanic was replacing a condenser fan motor which it considered "routine maintenance". The appellate court noted that to succeed on a Labor Law Section 240 (1) claim the injured worker must establish that he/she was injured "during the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure". Replacement of a condenser fan motor constituted routine maintenance that was to be expected in the course of normal wear and tear. Stockton v H & E Biffer Enters.No. 2, LLC, 2021 NY Slip Op 04568