Lewis Brisbois Counsel Secures Dismissal LHWCA Complaint in New York

In Kopetic v. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (April 12, 2018), Lewis Brisbois’ client, a governmental entity who owns a container terminal in New York Harbor, was sued by an injured longshoreman who worked for the company operating the container terminal. The longshoreman had been in the process of lifting and moving a container on the pier when the top loader he was driving flipped over onto its side, injuring the plaintiff. The terminal operator has a long-term lease with our client for the entire terminal. Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the plaintiff was precluded from bringing a claim against the terminal operator, as the operator was his employer who had paid out benefits under the LHWCA. Instead, the plaintiff brought his claim for negligence against our client as owner of the terminal. Lewis Brisbois’ counsel argued that, under the lease between the owner of the terminal and the terminal operator, the owner was a “landlord out of possession” and could not be held liable under New York law. The court agreed and dismissed the complaint in its entirety.

James H. Rodgers, Esq. and Seth Guiterman, Esq. worked on the matter.

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