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Tauber and Brown Awarded Summary Judgment in Intentional Tort Action

June 24, 2020

Danielle Tauber (Partner-White Plains) and Christin Brown (Associate-White Plains) represented a small professional service corporation that employed the plaintiff to conduct the daily affairs of their business. The plaintiff alleged that while lawfully at the place of his employment, he was assaulted by a principal of the corporation. In the complaint the plaintiff asserted causes of action against the individual, our client and the building owner, based on assault and battery, respondeat superior, inadequate security and negligence. As a result of the alleged assault, the plaintiff applied for and received workers’ compensation benefits. Prior to entering discovery and depositions, Danielle and Christin moved for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff’s claims against our client were barred by the exclusivity provision under New York Workers’ Compensation Law, which prevails over the doctrine of respondeat superior and/or vicarious liability. The plaintiff cross-moved for summary judgment on the basis that the defendants intentionally injured him and therefore could not avail themselves of the exclusivity provision of Workers’ Compensation Law. In opposition, we argued that the plaintiff failed to establish any willfulness on the part of our client and therefore our client as plaintiff’s employer may not be deprived of the exclusivity rule afforded by the Workers’ Compensation Law. In issuing its summary judgment decision dismissing the Complaint and all cross-claims, the Kings County Supreme Court adopted all of our arguments. The Court held that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Workers’ Compensation Law § 29(6).

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