QUEENSBURY — The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court is allowing a construction worker’s injury lawsuit against the Queensbury school district to proceed, reversing a lower court ruling.
The lawsuit concerns an incident that occurred on Feb. 10, 2011. John C. Hall Jr., who was employed as a plumber and pipefitter with Collette Mechanical Inc., was working on a heating renovation project at the district.
Hall was walking down a staircase into the basement of a building where Collette stored its tools, when he fell and fractured his right femur. He required surgery for his injuries.
Hall filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court of Warren County against the school district, alleging negligence. He claimed the stairwell was insufficiently lit, according to the court decision.
District officials responded that employees from the district’s maintenance and technology department responded to the scene and said they did not have any difficulty seeing in the stairwell and said the plaintiff told them he was not sure of the precise cause of his fall. They said they had not received any complaints about the adequacy of the lighting in the stairwell.
Warren County Supreme Court Justice David Krogmann on Sept. 30, 2015 granted a motion by the district for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint. Hall appealed the decision.
Both parties argued the case on Jan. 10 before a three-judge panel. In a decision dated Feb. 23, the Appellate Division said Hall had raised issues of fact that should have been resolved at trial.
A co-worker of the plaintiff said a light at the bottom of the stairwell was not working, and he could not tell when he reached the bottom. He noticed that there was no bulb in the light fixture at the bottom of the stairs when he was working in the area the day before the accident, according to the decision.
“While the affidavit of plaintiff’s co-worker was contradicted by other evidence in the record, such contradictions presented credibility determinations, which Supreme Court should have left to be resolved by the trier of fact,” the Appellate Division wrote.
The motion to dismiss has been reversed, so now the matter can proceed to trial.
Hall’s attorney, Joseph Brennan, did not return a message left for comment on Monday.
Queensbury Superintendent Douglas Huntley was out of the office and could not be reached for comment.