Crain’s New York Business ran an editorial today titled New York’s Stupidest Law – the law this is referring to? The New-York-only ‘Scaffold Law’ which holds building owners and contractors absolutely liable for “elevation related injuries,” regardless of the facts of the case or the real liability for the injury.
“The scaffold law has been on the books in New York since 1885, and it seems as though businesses have been lamenting it ever since. But lately, this obscure law has morphed from a nuisance into a threat—not just to contractors and property owners, but to taxpayers.
The statute, Labor Law 240/241, holds property owners and employers liable for all damages when a worker is injured in a gravity-related accident. This leads to bizarre outcomes. A worker who tumbled from an A-frame ladder that he’d leaned against a wall (rather than opening it as instructed) won $2 million. A town that had a leak inspected was hit with a $30.3 million judgment when the roofer’s worker fell. Only in New York is a worker’s negligence irrelevant, even if his drunkenness or disregard for safety rules led to the injury.”
To find out more about the effort to reform the Scaffold Law, visit www.scaffoldlaw.org