Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Workers’ Compensation Defense Denied

Goldberg Segalla

Goldberg Segalla

Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of New York, New York County

Defendant Morse Diesel Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that plaintiff Matthew D’Alessio’s claims were barred by New York State Worker’s Compensation Law. In support of its motion, Morse Diesel pointed to D’Alessio’s deposition testimony in which he claimed to be an employee of Morse Diesel at a jobsite near Brooklyn Law School. In further support, Morse Diesel provided an affidavit from its corporate representative stating that they carry workers’ compensation insurance.

In opposition to the motion, D’Alessio submitted an affidavit to explain that he mistakenly believed Morse Diesel directly employed him.

The court recognized D’Alessio’s ability to provide “clear and unequivocal details” regarding his employment history from approximately 60 years earlier, including work locations, job duties, and sources of asbestos exposure. The court noted that a “misremembering of whether he was an employee or contracted by another entity at a specific worksite is insufficient to be dispositive of the issue” in favor of Morse Diesel and relied upon the First Department’s treatment of similar issues in other cases. See Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Prods., 137 AD3d 575, 576, 27 N.Y.S.3d 157 (1st Dep’t 2016).

The court found the existence of a question of fact as to whether D’Alessio was employed by Morse Diesel based upon D’Alessio’s affidavit and social security records, which lacked any reference to Morse Diesel. Additionally, Morse Diesel provided no affirmative proof, namely employment records, to bolster the workers’ compensation defense.

Accordingly, the court denied Morse Diesel’s motion for summary judgment.

Read the full decision here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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