Hnatko v. The Langston Corp.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Workers' Compensation

New York Law Journal

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Judge Norman Mordue

Hnatko—an employee of third-party defendant Southern Container Corp., now known as Rock-Tenn Co.—was seriously injured in 2007 when his hair became entangled in a machine. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(60 and Local Rule 7.1(b)(3), Rock-Tenn sought dismissal of claims against it in Hnatko's diversity suit asserting negligence and products liability. It argued that as Hnatko was injured in his capacity as a Rock-Tenn employee, Workers' Compensation insurance was his exclusive remedy for any work-related injuries. Exceptions to the exclusive remedy provision of New York Workers' Compensation Law §11 are limited to circumstances where an employer failed to secure Workers' Comp, or intentionally injured the employee. Hnatko's complaint did not assert that he did not receive Workers' Comp for his injury or that employer Rock-Tenn failed to secure such coverage. Nor did Hnatko assert that his injuries were caused by any intentional act of his employer. Thus, the court deemed Rock-Tenn entitled to dismissal of Hnatko's complaint on the ground that New York's Workers' Compensation Law was his exclusive remedy. The court granted Rock-Tenn's unopposed dismissal motion without prejudice.

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