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Court Revives Carpenters Neglegence Action

 State: N.Y.

 

Court Revives Carpenter's Negligence Action against General Contractor

 

A New York appellate court ruled that a general contractor was not entitled to summary judgment dismissing a negligence suit that had been filed against it by one of its subcontractor's employees.

 

Case: Nolan v. Irwin Contracting, No. 2012-02049, 10/29/2014, published.

 

Facts: Andrew Nolan worked as a carpenter for Vision 4. Irwin Contracting had hired Vision 4 to perform carpentry work on a construction project.

 

Vision sent Nolan to supervise the work of about 25 subordinates for this project. Nolan allegedly got hurt while doing so, and he collected workers' compensation benefits from Vision. He also sued Irwin for negligence.

 

Procedural History: Irwin moved for summary judgment, arguing Nolan had been its special employee and so his exclusive remedy lay in the workers' compensation system.

 

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Arthur Pitts granted Irwin's motion.

 

Analysis: The Appellate Division's 2nd Department explained that the receipt of workers' compensation benefits from a general employer precludes an employee from commencing a negligence action against a special employer.

 

In determining whether a special employment relationship exists, a trial judge should consider factors such as the right to control the employee's work, the method of payment, the furnishing of equipment and the right to discharge, the court said.

 

The court reasoned that in this case, Nolan had failed to present sufficient evidence of a special employment relationship with Irwin to be entitled to summary judgment since he did not show that Irwin controlled and directed the manner, details and ultimate result of his work.

 

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

 

To read the decision, click here.

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