Corporate Property Owner Responsible For Not Protecting Worker From Fall

When a property manager hires a contractor, he/she must ensure the working environment is safe – even when the property owner does not direct or supervise the work. A corporate property owner hired a contractor to demolish a building on a property in Hudson Falls, NY. As part of the demolition process, workers utilized ladders to reach elevated areas in the building to remove steel pipes and copper wiring. There was a snow storm overnight that resulted in ice on the floor of the owner’s building that was being demolished. And although the owner was aware of the weather, the owner chose to remove snow and ice from areas on the property other than the building where the workers were doing their job with ladders. The owner took no action to ensure that workers were furnished with devices to prevent ladders from slipping; this violated New York Labor Laws requiring that workers be afforded protection from falls. Predictably, our client’s ladder slipped because he had not been provided with devices to secure the ladder, and he fell to the ground suffering a broken back. Despite the owner’s contention that our client should be 100% responsible for his own actions in working in an unsafe area without availing himself of equipment to make his work area safe, a Warren County jury enforced the New York Labor Law with a verdict in our client’s favor. The trial was presented by Partner Kenneth Fromson.

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP