Summary Judgment for Anthony Brighton, Esq., in Premises Liability Case.

Tony Brighton successfully obtained summary judgment in Tompkins County Supreme Court for an individual defendant in a slip-and-fall case brought by a restaurant employee. The Court had originally granted summary judgment to the defendant restaurant, a corporation, based on the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation law, which barred plaintiff from bringing an action against his employer. The Court originally denied summary judgment to the restaurant’s owner, however, on the grounds that he was also the owner of the property on which the restaurant operated, and the Court thus ruled he could be found liable as landowner rather than employer. The motion for reargument noted that the individual owner could not be held separately liable as landowner, because he was the sole owner of both the restaurant corporation and the real property. The law does not allow plaintiffs to avoid the Workers’ Compensation bar by asserting a defendant’s separate roles as employer and property owner if the defendant is the sole owner of both entities. The motion further noted that the individual defendant’s entitlement to assert the Workers’ Compensation bar had not been an issue until raised in the Court’s decision. The Court, per Judge Rumsey, granted the motion for reargument and granted summary judgment to both defendants.