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Although Labor Law Section 240 was designed to protect workers, making owners and general contractors strictly liable for height-related workplace safety violations, over the years the trial of those cases has become fraught with difficulty. While originally written by the Legislature to protect workers in dangerous occupations at all costs—even from themselves—it has instead become a statute giving rise to the recalcitrant worker/sole proximate cause defense, allowing for many more defense verdicts. While Labor Law cases still provide a strong basis for statutory liability, they must be tried more artfully and carefully than ever before.

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