WCM Awarded Summary Judgment in Kings County Labor Law Case

Partner Cheryl Fuchs and associate Alicia Sklan obtained pre-discovery summary judgment in a Kings County Labor Law case.  In Lazo v. Catholic Charities, et al, the plaintiff fell off of a scaffold located on the roof a building owned by one of the defendants.  Though our client installed pipe scaffolding on the rear of the building, a sidewalk bridge in front of the building, and roof protection on neighboring buildings, we moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that our client did not install any scaffolding on the roof of the building where plaintiff’s accident indisputably occurred.  Rather than wait for these facts to be established through discovery, we were proactive and obtained an affidavit from plaintiff’s employer confirming that the accident did not occur on equipment our client owned, installed, or had any duty to maintain.  As a result, we obtained a complete dismissal for our client.

For any questions about this case, feel free to contact cfuchs@wcmlaw.com.


WCM Is Pleased To Announce That Georgia Coats And Steven M. Kaye, Jr. Have Been Promoted To Counsel

Georgia handles a variety of general liability claims, including high-exposure labor law and construction accident personal injury claims.  Georgia also litigates premises liability and property damage claims.  Georgia is a cum laude graduate of New York University where she was a member of the Dean’s List.  At Fordham University School of Law, Georgia was a member of the Fordham Environmental Law Journal.

Steven’s practice focuses on insurance coverage and appellate work.  Steven provides coverage opinions on a variety of issues, defends and prosecutes declaratory judgment actions and litigates complex commercial litigation actions.  Steven graduated cum laude from College of the Holy Cross and was a member of the Dean’s List.  He also graduated cum laude from Brooklyn Law School.

Visual Artists Rights Act: Dilemma or Opportunity for Fine Arts Insurers?

The Ironshore Academy and the Lloyd’s Market Association invited WCM to present on this topic of increasing importance to Fine Art Insurers.  Speaking to an audience of over 75 underwriters and claims professionals, Dennis Wade and Michael Bono discussed the significance of VARA, the relevant case law construing VARA, and gave practical advice for addressing claims of damage to works of living artists.  If you would like a copy of Dennis and Mike’s written submission, please e-mail WCM’s communication director, Diana Mauriello at dmauriello@wcmlaw.com.


Premises Liability 2015: What You Need to Know in New York

Dennis Wade is a speaker at the New York State Bar Association CLE program entitled Premises Liability 2015: What You Need to Know in New York.  Dennis addresses Liability for Sporting Activities at the Long Island and Manhattan sessions.  His submission is entitled:  Liability For Sporting And Recreational Activities: A Balancing Act.  The brochure for the program is attached.  If you have any questions about the program or the materials, please call Dennis.

Diana Mauriello

Communications Director


Dennis Wade Presents at FDCC Deposition Boot Camp

The Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, a peer selected defense organization, sponsored a “basic training” and advanced instruction course for all aspects of taking and defending depositions.  Dennis was a member of the faculty and addressed the examination of plaintiff; using documents at depositions; laying the foundation for summary judgment motions; and, the examination of medical professionals. The course took place in Philadelphia this week on November 12th and 13th.

Dennis Wade Speaks at International Fine Arts Conference

Dennis is a speaker at the International Fine Arts and Specie Conference.  The Conference kicks off in Malta (South of Sicily) on Wednesday, October 22, 2014. Dennis addresses the challenges facing US insurers in recovering stolen property. Partnered with an Italian lawyer, Giandomenico Bogolione, Dennis discusses how the EU differs from the U.S. in notions of quieting title.

For more information, please visit www.ifasic.com, or email Dennis at dwade@wcmlaw.com for the written materials.

Diana Mauriello, Communications Director

WCM Achieves Dismissal of a Defamation Lawsuit Against a Law Firm

New York, NY 

Partner Dennis Wade and associate Alison Weintraub received a complete pre-answer dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint in the case of Roth v. Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP, a defamation action brought in New York City Civil Court.  Roth, a former partner at Tarter Krinsky alleged that certain partners at his prior firm made defamatory and slanderous remarks causing harm to his business reputation.  The complaint, however, lacked the specificity required by the CPLR for a defamation action and we therefore argued that it should be dismissed.  In addition, we argued that the allegedly defamatory statements were protected by a common interest privilege, as any comments were made between attorneys within the law firm.  The court agreed both on specificity and privilege grounds and granted the motion to dismiss, while simultaneously denying Roth’s cross-motion request to replead.

WCM Awarded Summary Judgment in Hunterdon County, New Jersey Sports Liability Lawsuit.

Mountainside, NJ 

Partner, Denise Fontana Ricci, obtained summary judgment in Deska v. Wildcat Wrestling Club, a personal injury lawsuit in which a spectator at a wrestling match allegedly fell due to water on a gym floor from melted snow.   The central issue in the case was whether the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act precluded the plaintiff ’s claim as the Wildcat Wrestling Club fell under the Act’s protections and all negligence claims were barred.

In a creative attempt to escape this immunity, the plaintiff argued that the Club had been grossly negligent in holding the match on a night when it snowed – as gross negligence would overcome the statutory immunity.  In opposition, we argued that although the plaintiff asserted that the snowstorm on the night of the match was a nor’easter or blizzard, historical data dispelled this account.  We therefore argued that under the facts presented, there simply was no evidence to support a claim of gross negligence based upon a failure to cancel the match for mere snow.  The trial court agreed and granted our motion.

WCM Awarded Summary Judgment in Bergen County, New Jersey Declaratory Judgment Action.

Mountainside, NJ 

Partner, Denise Fontana Ricci, was awarded summary judgment in the case of Puglisi v. AJD v. Burlington, a declaratory judgment action involving a general contractor’s attempt to obtain additional insured insurance coverage from a subcontractor.   In the underlying action, Puglisi v. AJD Construction, a mason died after falling backwards from a platform that served a hoist elevator used to bring personnel and supplies to the upper floors of the building that was being constructed.   The decedent’s estate alleged that the decedent fell while leaning on a horizontal girt support for a canopy over the platform.   Notwithstanding the fact that the decedent’s estate sued the scaffold and hoist company, a Burlington Insurance Company insured, the plaintiff ’s expert faulted only AJD, the general contractor, that had overall responsibility for safety on the jobsite.   No expert opined that the scaffold and hoist company’s design or initial installation of the platform or hoist was negligent.  In the absence of such evidence, the Court granted summary judgment to Burlington’s insured.

Notwithstanding this reality, AJD still sought additional insured coverage from Burlington on the basis that the scaffold and hoist company’s Burlington insurance policy included a blanket additional insured endorsement that provided additional insured coverage when the named insured was required to procure such coverage in a written contract but only in situations where the tender arose out of the insured’s work.  In this case, because there was no evidence to the contrary, the judge agreed that the tender did not arise out of the insured’s work.   The court therefore ruled in favor of Burlington and held that no coverage attached.

WCM Awarded Summary Judgment in Brooklyn Construction Accident.

New York, NY 

Associate Gabriel Darwick obtained summary judgment in a Kings County Labor Law suit. In Calciano v. 343 LLC, the plaintiff, an employee of our client, JM3 Construction, tripped and fell on a battery while attempting to walk down a staircase at a construction site. JM3, a carpentry subcontractor, was one of many contractors working at the building at the time of the accident.

The plaintiff sued the owner and general contractor, asserting violations of the Labor Law. The owner and general contractor, in turn, sued JM3, seeking contractual indemnification under the broad terms of the indemnity agreement in JM3’s contract with the general contractor.

We moved to dismiss the third-party complaint on the basis that the plaintiff’s accident did not “arise out of” JM3’s work. We argued that the general contractor could not trigger the indemnity provision because there was no causal relationship between JM3’s work and the accident. We pointed to the facts that: (a) JM3 was not working in the stairwell at the time of the accident, (b) the battery could have come from any one of the numerous subcontractors on the site, and (c) plaintiff, who was on the way to the bathroom at the time of the accident, was not performing any work when it occurred. The court agreed with our analysis and granted JM3 summary judgment.