New York's (in)famous scaffold law exempts owners of one- and two-family dwellings. Homeowners don't have to worry about absolute liability, right?
Well, it depends. A New York appellate court refused to apply it to one homeowner last week.
A worker died during the construction of a one-family home in New York City. The homeowner also happened to be an officer of the general contractor who was building the home. He was an experienced construction worker. The deceased worker was an employee of an electrical contractor acting as a subcontractor on the project. The homeowner provided the workers with a 14-foot ladder that he built himself out of "two-inch by four-inch pieces of wood connected by nails and screws." As the subcontractor's employee was coming down the ladder with a heavy drill in hand, the ladder jerked and he fell.