On July 27, 2007, an employee for a water pollution control plant in Brooklyn, New York was at work in an area that was under construction to upgrade the facility. Part of the employee’s job was to provide identification checks on all persons working on the site to ensure that they were members of the Teamsters Union. The water pollution control plant provided him with a Chevrolet Silverado work truck to use while he was performing his duties. On this date while he was pulling up to park the truck, he observed another truck pull in and turn down a temporary road. The employee advised that he got out of his truck to walk down the road to check the man’s union card because it was a nice day. When he got out of his work truck, he stepped onto a temporary ramp that was set up by some of the construction workers on the site. The ramp was constructed of two by four pieces of wood. When he stepped on it, the boards separated and he fell approx. 18 inches to the ground breaking several bones in his foot. He filed a lawsuit to gain compensation for his injuries.
The employee stated in his suit that he felt that the water treatment plant was responsible for paying for his injury because they either knew or should have known that the ramp was in use on their property and that the ramp was not safe. The company disagreed. They felt that they did not install the ramp and that they did not know that it was in use. They did not feel that they should be held responsible for his injury because he was injured by his own fault because he was using the two by fours to walk on. The water treatment plant requested a summary judgment to dismiss all liability against them.
The court disagreed. They stated that the employees’ injuries came from an unsafe condition that was present at the construction site, i.e. the faulty ramp of two-by-fours which collapsed. The question of law is if the plant had actual or constructive notice of the condition of the ramp being used on the premises. The employee does not dispute that the water treatment plant did not build the ramp itself, only that they knew that it was there and did nothing to either make it safe or remove it.
The court finds that there is enough evidence that they may have known that the ramp existed that the case needs to go to trial and that they will not make a summary judgment in this case.
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