February 18, 2020
In her Feb. 9 column, Sara Foss did a nice job of outlining some of the potential dangers of legalizing marijuana, like car accidents and vaping-related illnesses. However, she missed one significant risk: workplace injuries. This risk is especially high in New York state because of our outdated Labor Law 240, also known as the Scaffold Law.
Under this law, an employee’s intoxication cannot be used as a defense for a contractor or property owner for a personal injury claim. As the courts have said, “Could … intoxication as a contributing cause of the happening of the accident be a defense to the cause of the action? The short answer is no.” The jury instructions for these cases specifically note that marijuana use is not a defense.
We are the only state that applies liability in this way.