APPELLATE VICTORY – SECOND DEPARTMENT – JUNE 10, 2020
In Cantey v. City of New York, plaintiff was a Journeyman electrician employed by our client, third party defendant, Eaton Electric, Inc. performing conduit installation at the Jamaica Bay Wastewater Plant (municipal property owned by the City of New York) when he was struck on the head by a falling light fixture. On appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department upheld dismissal of the City of New York’s third party claim for contractual indemnification against Eaton Electric, Inc., affirming the decision by the Supreme Court, Queens County. Anthony Buono successfully argued that Eaton Electric, Inc.’s scope of work did not involve any of the light fixtures at the premises thereby establishing a complete lack of culpable conduct attributable to Eaton Electric Inc. Although Eaton Electric, Inc.’s subcontract with the prime electrical contractor called for indemnification of the City of New York arising out of Eaton Electric, Inc.’s work, the Second Department credited Mr. Buono’s argument that there is no precedent supporting an award of contractual indemnification solely because the indemnitor’s employee was injured without evidence that said indemnitor’s work caused or contributed to the alleged incident. The Second Department’s decision entitled Eaton Electric, Inc. to dismissal of the third party action following previous dismissal of the City of New York’s claims for contribution and indemnity under common law principles.