Labor Law 12 : A Home

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Q: I was working as a laborer for a small construction company.  The company had been hired by the owner of a two-family home to reconstruct its front porches.  The job had already taken more than three months.

The owner attended the job site daily.  One day, she directed me to redo a day’s worth of grouting because she didn’t like the color and texture.  Another time, the owner instructed me to make sure that the stonework was straight and perfectly angled.

One day, I had positioned a short ladder so that its top was leaning against the porch while the bottom was positioned on the defendants’ sloped driveway.  The ladder shook and moved a little bit, so I instructed a co-worker to hold it while I performed cement work.  I then instructed him to retrieve additional cement.  While he was gone, I continued working on the ladder – until it slipped and I fell onto the driveway.

A: Labor Law sections 240(1) and 241(6) contain identical language exempting from the statutes owner of one and two-family dwellings who do not direct or control the work.  A homeowner’s involvement in progress, aesthetics and general quality, such as you describe, merely reflects typical homeowner interest in the ongoing progress.  The law is that this involvement does not constitute the kind of direction or control necessary to overcome the homeowner’s exemption from liability.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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