The Bossy Owner

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Q: In a residential backyard, my employer was getting ready to install an in-ground pool.  To make room for it, we had been excavating beneath a concrete patio.  It extended too far from the rear of the house.  In the excavated areas, we had placed some panels.  They served to show how close the pool could go to the neighbor’s property.

The owner came out to the backyard, observed us digging and took note of the panels.  “They’re a little off,” he said.  “You’ve got to rearrange them.  They don’t comply with the sideline restrictions.”  In response, my employer ordered us to realign the panels.  Shortly thereafter, the patio rained down debris, and it collapsed upon me.

According to the application for a building permit, the owner himself is the builder and supervisor for this pool.

A: In addition to workers’ compensation from your employer, you can recover damages from this owner.  Clearly, he participated in the direction and control of the construction and excavation.  Because of this, the owner is exposed to liability under Labor Law § 240(1) and § 241(6), which set forth requirements for conducting such work.

In addition, the owner violated the provisions of Labor Law § 200.  Section 200 codifies the common-law duty that requires him to exercise reasonable care to provide a safe place to work for anyone who works on his premises.

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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