September 29, 2010

A prisoner while assigned to a work crew is not an employee

A prisoner while assigned to a work crew is not an employee
Richel v Village of Angola, Fourth Dept., 265 AD2d 864

Joseph Richel, an inmate at the Gowanda Correctional Facility, was injured in a fall from a scaffold while assigned to a work crew that was spray-painting a building owned by the Village of Angola. He sued, contending that the Village created a dangerous condition by providing unsafe and inadequate equipment in violation of Section 240(1) of the Labor Law.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, rejected Richel’s theory, commenting that “[a]s an inmate, [Richel] was not an employee of the Village or the State of New York when he was injured, and thus he is not an employee subject to the protection of Labor Law Section 240(1).”
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