THE PERSON WHO ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF WAS THE OWNER OF THE LAW FIRM PLAINTIFF WORKED FOR; PLAINTIFF COULD RECOVER WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS FROM THE LAW FIRM AND DAMAGES FOR ASSAULT AND BATTERY FROM THE OWNER, WHO WAS A COEMPLOYEE (SECOND DEPT).
The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined plaintiff could recover for assault and battery against a coemployee (Levoritz) even though plaintiff had been awarded Workers’ Compensation benefits from his employer for the same assault and battery. Plaintiff was employed by defendant law firm at the time of the alleged assault and battery and the law firm was owned by Levortiz:
The Supreme Court, however, erred in granting Levoritz’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him. Contrary to Levoritz’s contention, Workers’ Compensation Law § 29 does not bar an employee who has accepted workers’ compensation benefits from suing a coemployee who has committed an intentional assault against him or her … . Additionally, Levoritz failed to establish, prima facie, that he was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the incident, and was not engaged in a willful or intentional tort … .
The Supreme Court should have granted that branch of the plaintiff’s cross-motion which was for summary judgment on the issue of liability on the cause of action to recover damages for assault and battery insofar as asserted against Levoritz. The plaintiff established his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability on the cause of action to recover damages for assault and battery by showing, through the submission of his affidavit, that there was bodily contact, that the contact was offensive, that Levoritz intended to make the contact without the plaintiff’s consent, and that Levoritz placed the plaintiff in “imminent apprehension of harmful contact” … . In opposition, Levoritz failed to raise a triable issue of fact. Tarasiuk v Levoritz, 2023 NY Slip Op 02698, Second Dept 5-17-23
Practice Point: Here the person who assaulted plaintiff was the owner of the law firm plaintiff worked for. Plaintiff could recover Workers’ Compensation benefits from the law firm and damages from the owner of the firm, who was plaintiff’s coemployee.
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