In today’s Buffalo Law Journal, Editor Michael Petro revisits the Scaffold Law, this time taking a look at the arguments in favor of reform.
There are two sides to every story. I was reminded of that by some readers of a Notebook I wrote in the March 23 edition, which provided the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney’s side regarding the Scaffold Law.
It garnered quite the response from those defending general contractors and site owners who, as a result of the law, are held completely liable for construction accidents that occur from a height or elevation at worksites. I also heard from insurance carriers that bear the brunt of large payouts to plaintiffs and their attorneys after an accident.
The state labor law, which includes the Scaffold Law, doesn’t so much make mention of absolute liability; it’s been the courts that have interpreted it in that manner. Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, said an argument can be made that the absolute liability part was not even the original intent of the legislation.