The Rocker

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Q: My job is to do sheet-rocking.  I install the sheet-rock and do the taping, beading, spackling and sanding.  Arriving at a partially-constructed residence, I spoke with the owner.  We talked about the way I would sheet-rock his archway and the skylights.  I gave various options, and he made a selection.  In addition, the owner requested that I complete the kitchen before the rest of the job.

Afterwards, I put together a makeshift platform and set about performing my work.  The platform collapsed, and I fell through an open stairwell.

A: Under section 240 of the New York Labor Law, an owner who contracts for such work as sheet-rocking shall supply such safety devices as a properly constructed platform – except for the owner of a one- or two-family dwelling who does not direct or control the work.

The owner will argue that, although he may have made some aesthetic decisions, he did not actually direct or supervise you with respect to the sheet-rock work and accordingly is entitled to the homeowner’s exception.

The jury will need to listen carefully to your testimony, and that of the owner, in order to determine whether, and to what extent, the owner supervised the method and manner of your work.

Every homeowner must make some decisions about scheduling and quality.  Ordinarily, these decisions do not equate to direction or control.  In other cases, there is an overall pattern of interaction between the owner and the various workers that amounts to direction or control.

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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