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Issues surrounding Labor Law §240(1) continue to be hotly litigated in New York’s appellate courts. In reviewing recent §240(1) appellate decisions, it becomes clear that while some trends are discernible, much ambiguity remains. This article focuses on a number of 2011 appellate cases that involved whether an unexpected mechanical failure or worker negligence can be a valid §240(1) defense and explored the dynamic sole proximate cause and recalcitrant worker defenses. For practitioners representing plaintiffs or defendants in construction accident cases, understanding these decisions is necessary to developing successful case theories through discovery and crafting persuasive arguments in motion and trial practice.

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