Summary Judgment Decision In Labor Law And Insurance Coverage Action

August 29, 2009

London Fischer LLP recently secured a complete victory on behalf of its clients Turner Construction Company (Turner), Rockefeller Center North Inc. (Rockefeller) and Time Inc. (Time) in a controversial New York Labor Law action. The Plaintiff, an immigrant laborer fell from a 6 foot ladder suffering severe bilateral wrist fractures and commenced suit in Brooklyn Supreme Court under New York Labor Law §§200, 240 and 241(6) seeking a multi million dollar verdict for lost wages, pain and suffering.

In its May 13, 2009 decision in the matter of Luis Lucero v. Rockefeller Center North Inc. et al., the Supreme Court, Kings County substantively granted London Fischer’s motion for summary judgment alleviating their clients of all liability. The Court adopted London Fischer’s argument that Turner, Rockefeller and Time (the general contractor, premises owner and landlord) could not be held liable under New York Labor Law §200 or common law negligence where they did not own, supply or store the ladder from which the Plaintiff fell. The Court also granted the portion of London Fischer’s motion seeking a declaration that the Plaintiff’s employer was obligated to defend and indemnify Turner, Rockefeller and Time thus alleviating them of any potential strict liability under New York Labor Law §240 and §241(6).

The Court also granted London Fischer’s motion for summary judgment in the corresponding declaratory judgment action entitled Rockefeller Center North et. al. v. Interstate Fire & Casualty Company et. al. The Court agreed with London Fischer’s arguments that Turner, Rockefeller and Time were additional insureds on the subcontractor’s general liability policy. The Court held that pursuant to the plain terms of the contract documents and the additional insured provisions of the policies, Turner, Rockefeller and Time were all additional insureds under the subcontractor’s primary and excess policies. With the liability issues in the underlying action having been determined, the Court held that the subcontractor’s insurer was obligated to reimburse London Fischer’s clients’ reasonable defense costs in that action.

Attorneys John Sparling and Perry Kreidman worked on this matter.