Articles Posted in Construction Law

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This case arose when a real estate developer hired HOD to act as general contractor for the construction of two multi-family residences. HOD entered into a subcontract with Well Built for the masonry work. At issue was whether a general contractor acted as a joint employer of masonry workers, who were employed by one of its subcontractors, thereby owing unpaid wages to the subcontractor's workforce. The court held that the Board erred as a matter of law in relying on the federal six-factor test in Zheng v. Liberty Apparel Co., Inc. in reaching its determination of joint employment. Because the Board's factual findings indicated nothing more than that the usual contractor/subcontractor relationship existed between HOD and Well Built during the three-month period that Well Built's principal, Martin Bruten, was on the job, the court need not resort to federal precedent to resolve the issue. In any event, even if the court were to apply the Zheng test, the court would hold that HOD was not a joint employer of Well Built's employees. Accordingly, the judgment of the Appellate Division should be reversed and the matter remitted with directions to remand to the Board for further proceedings. View "Matter of Ovadia v Office of the Indus. Bd. of Appeals" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a contract between the school district and DJH to perform heating, ventilation, and air condition work. The contract required DJH to obtain a performance bond which DJH secured from Nova, a compensated surety. At issue was whether Nova was discharged from it surety obligation to the school district on the bases that the school district allegedly violated New York's Lien Law 70[1] by improperly diverting construction contract payments constituting trust fund assets to a non-beneficiary and breached the terms of the parties' performance bond. The court held that under the facts, Nova had not demonstrated that discharge of its surety obligation was warranted. The court also considered whether the school district was entitled to attorneys' fees expended in the prosecution of the litigation and concluded that the request for attorneys' fees was properly denied. View "Mount Vernon City School Dist. v Nova Cas. Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against 96 Rockaway, LLC, Novalex Contracting Corp., and T-Construction Co., Inc., alleging among other things, violations of Labor Law 240(a) and 241(6). Discovery and a third-party action ensued. T-Construction moved for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the complaint, and all cross-claims against it. 96 Rockaway and Novalex cross-moved for identical relief. Supreme Court granted defendants' motions, and dismissed plaintiff's complaint in its entirety. The Appellate Division reversed so much of Supreme Court's order as granted defendants' motions for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims, denied the motions, and reinstated those claims. The court held that, given that Labor Law 240(1) should be construed with a common sense approach to the realities of the workplace at issue, defendants were entitled to summary judgment dismissing that claim. Plaintiff's Labor Law 241(6) cause of action, predicated on a violation of 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(b)(1)(i), failed for similar reasons. Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division was reversed. View "Salazar v Novalex Contr. Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued defendant alleging violations of Labor Law 240(1) and Labor Law 241(6), the latter pursuant to 12 NYCRR 23-3.3(b)(3) and (c) after plaintiff was injured while working on a demolition project on premises owned by defendant. At issue was whether the court's decision in Misseritti v. Mark IV Constr. Co. precluded recovery under labor Law 240(1) where a worker sustained an injury caused by a falling object whose base stood at the same level as the worker. The court held that such a circumstance did not categorically bar the worker from recovery under section 240(1). The court held that, however, in this case, an issue of fact existed as to whether plaintiff's injury resulted from the lack of a statutorily prescribed protective device. View "Wilinski v. 334 E. 92nd Hous. Dev. Fund Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an electrician working on a construction project site, brought a personal injury suit against defendants asserting claims under Labor Law 200, 240(1), and 241(6), and common law negligence. At issue was whether defendants-property owners (property owners) were entitled to common law indemnification from defendant-general contractor (general contractor). The court held that the general contractor's demonstrated lack of actual supervision and/or direction over the work was sufficient to establish that it was not required to indemnify the property owners for bringing about plaintiff's injury. The court also held that the property owner's vicarious liability could not be passed through the general contractor, the non-negligent, vicariously liable general contractor with whom they did not contract. Therefore, the court held that, under the facts and circumstances, the property owners were not entitled to common law indemnification from the general contractor. View "McCarthy, et al. v. Turner Construction, Inc." on Justia Law