Workers’ Compensation 3 : Tentacles of the Octopus

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Q: While attempting to lift a frame and cover onto a truck, and working, I was injured.  I would like to sue the corporation that owns the property for common-law negligence and for various Labor Law violations.  Both the owner and my employer are owned by Mr. X.

A: In your complaint, you will allege that the owner was negligent in failing to provide a safe place to work, in failing to provide adequate and proper lifting and hoisting equipment, and in instructing you to accomplish a task that was unsafe and dangerous.

True, section 29(6) of the Workers’ Compensation Law provides that workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee injured by the negligence or wrong of another in the same employ.  The owner, however, is a corporation separate and distinct from your employer.

Your attorney will argue that where, as here, the employer and the owner are distinct legal entities, there is no basis to dismiss an action against the landowner based on the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law.

Mr. X, as the individual principal in this business enterprise, for his own business and legal advantage, elected to operate that enterprise through separate corporate entities.  The structure he created should not be ignored – in order to shield one tentacle of his octopus from common-law tort liability.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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