Magistrate Judge George Yanthis
Kingery owned Rye Ford Inc. (RFI), which operated auto dealerships Rye Ford and Rye Subaru. He also co-owned Rye Real Estate Associates (RREA) from which RFI leased the building housing Rye Subaru (Subaru building). Under the 2004 lease, RFI was responsible for the Subaru building’s care, maintenance and upkeep. RFI employee Robbins, a “prep manager” for Rye Ford and Rye Subaru, performed a variety of tasks. He was hurt on Oct. 14, 2010, after falling some 18 feet from an extension ladder after Kingery directed him to clean the Subaru building’s gutters. Robbins did not have safety devices securing the ladder or ensuring its stability. District court granted Robbins summary judgment in his diversity action seeking damages under New York Labor Law §240(1). Distinguishing Cappella v. Suresky at Hatfiled Lane, the court rejected RREA’s affirmative defense that New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law barred Robbins’ recovery. Informed by Broggy v. Rockefeller Group and Dahar v. Holland Ladder & Mfg., the court found that the cleaning of the commercial Subaru building’s gutters created an elevation-related risk of the kind that safety devices listed in Labor Law §240(1) protect against.