Archer-Vail v. LHV Precast Inc., 526555

CourtNew York Supreme Court Appellate Division
Writing for the CourtClark, J.
Citation168 A.D.3d 1257,92 N.Y.S.3d 434
Parties Patricia A. ARCHER–VAIL, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of John F. Vail, Deceased, Appellant–Respondent, v. LHV PRECAST INC. et al., Respondents–Appellants, et al., Defendant.
Decision Date17 January 2019
Docket Number526555

168 A.D.3d 1257
92 N.Y.S.3d 434

Patricia A. ARCHER–VAIL, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of John F. Vail, Deceased, Appellant–Respondent,
v.
LHV PRECAST INC. et al., Respondents–Appellants, et al., Defendant.

526555

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

Calendar Date: December 12, 2018
Decided and Entered: January 17, 2019


92 N.Y.S.3d 436

Marc J. Bern & Partners, LLP, New York City (Brian J. Isaac of Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & Decicco, LLP, of counsel), for appellant-respondent.

Goldberg Segalla LLP, Buffalo (James F. Faucher II of counsel), for LHV Precast Inc., respondent-appellant.

Salmon, Ricchezza, Singer & Turchi, LLP, New York City (Jacqueline Zoller of counsel), for Wieser Concrete Products, Inc. and another, respondents-appellants.

Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider, PLLC, Newburgh (Michael R. Frascarelli of counsel), for Spillman Company, respondent-appellant.

Before: Lynch, J.P., Clark, Mulvey, Devine and Rumsey, JJ.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Clark, J.

168 A.D.3d 1257

Cross appeals from an order of the Supreme Court (Cahill, J.), entered March 19, 2018 in Ulster County, which, among other things, partially granted a motion by defendants LHV Precast Inc., Wieser Concrete Products, Inc., Wieser Concrete Roxana, LLC and Spillman Company to dismiss the complaint against them.

Plaintiff is the administrator of the estate of her spouse, John F. Vail (hereinafter decedent), who ultimately died as a result of injuries he sustained when, during the course of his employment, a 2,500 pound bridge form fell on him. In a 98–page

168 A.D.3d 1258

complaint containing 426 paragraphs, plaintiff – individually and as the administrator of decedent's estate – commenced this action asserting various causes of action. Prior to answering, defendant Wieser Concrete Products, Inc. and defendant Wieser Concrete Roxana, LLC (hereinafter collectively referred to as Wieser), concrete manufacturing contractors, defendant Spillman Company, the manufacturer of the subject bridge form, and defendant LHV Precast Inc., the alleged operator of the accident site (hereinafter collectively referred to as defendants), separately moved to dismiss the complaint. Supreme Court partially granted defendants' motions by dismissing claims predicated on violations of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6), as well as a common-law claim for permanent loss of consortium.1 Plaintiff appeals, and defendants cross-appeal.

Initially, with respect to the facial sufficiency of the complaint, LHV and Wieser argue that Supreme Court should have dismissed the complaint in its entirety for failing to comply with the pleading requirements of CPLR 3013 and 3014. Pursuant to CPLR 3013, a pleading must "be sufficiently particular to give the court and parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved and the material elements of each cause of action" (see Robin BB. v. Kotzen, 62 A.D.3d 1187, 1188, 880 N.Y.S.2d 713 [2009] ; Matter of Johnson v. Goord, 290 A.D.2d 844, 844–845, 736 N.Y.S.2d 284 [2002] ). Additionally, pursuant to CPLR 3014, "[e]very pleading shall consist of plain and concise

92 N.Y.S.3d 437

statements in consecutively numbered paragraphs" and "[e]ach paragraph shall contain, as far as practicable, a single allegation." "These [pleading] requirements must be read in light of CPLR 3026 [,] which provides for the liberal construction of pleadings and states that ‘[d]efects shall be ignored if a substantial right of a party is not prejudiced’ " ( Matter of Gerena v. New York State Div. of Parole, 266 A.D.2d 761, 762, 698 N.Y.S.2d 750 [1999], quoting CPLR 3026 ; see Rich v. Lefkovits, 56 N.Y.2d 276, 280–281, 452 N.Y.S.2d 1, 437 N.E.2d 260 [1982] ). Affording a liberal construction to the pleading here, we agree with Supreme Court that the complaint – although unnecessarily long and inartfully drafted – sets forth legally cognizable claims, including causes of action sounding in negligence and wrongful death, with sufficient particularity so as to provide defendants with notice of the claims asserted against them and the transactions and/or occurrences sought to be proven (see Estate of Unterweiser v. Town of Hempstead, 235 A.D.2d 453, 453, 652 N.Y.S.2d 1007 [1997] ;

168 A.D.3d 1259

Braunstein v. Glachman, 157 A.D.2d 815, 815, 551 N.Y.S.2d 801 [1990] ; compare Mid–Hudson Val. Fed. Credit Union v. Quartararo & Lois, PLLC, 155 A.D.3d 1218, 1220–1221, 64 N.Y.S.3d 389 [2017], affd 31 N.Y.3d 1090, 78 N.Y.S.3d 703, 103 N.E.3d 774 [2018] ). Accordingly, Supreme Court properly determined that dismissal of the complaint was not warranted under CPLR 3013 and 3014.

We also reject Wieser's assertion that Supreme Court should have dismissed plaintiff's request for punitive damages on the basis that the complaint does not contain allegations of facts that would support the conclusion that it acted wantonly or so recklessly as to constitute a conscious disregard of decedent's rights (see generally Home Ins. Co. v. American Home Prods. Corp., 75 N.Y.2d 196, 200–201, 551 N.Y.S.2d 481, 550 N.E.2d 930 [1990] ). Plaintiff's third cause of action, which Supreme Court construed as including plaintiff's request for punitive damages, alleges that defendants failed to provide "decedent with a safe place to work and adequate, proper and sufficient safety devices and equipment" when he was unloading the bridge form from an elevated height, that such failures caused the bridge form to fall on decedent and that the failures demonstrated a wanton and willful disregard for decedent's safety. These allegations, construed liberally, provide sufficient factual support for plaintiff's punitive damages request so as to withstand a motion to dismiss at this stage of the action (see Saha v. Record, 177 A.D.2d 763, 766, 575 N.Y.S.2d 986 [1991] ; cf. Dumesnil v. Proctor & Schwartz, 199 A.D.2d 869, 870–871, 606 N.Y.S.2d 394 [1993] ; Kaplan v. Sparks, 192 A.D.2d 1119, 1119–1120, 596 N.Y.S.2d 279 [1993] ).

Next, contrary to plaintiff's contention, Supreme Court properly dismissed the claims alleging violations of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) for failure to state a cause of action. Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6)" ‘impose nondelegable duties upon contractors, owners and their agents to comply with certain safety practices for the protection of workers engaged in various construction-related activities’ " ( Landon v. Austin, 88 A.D.3d 1127, 1128, 931 N.Y.S.2d 424 [2011], quoting Lieberth v. Walden, 223 A.D.2d 978, 979, 636 N.Y.S.2d 885 [1996] ). Specifically, " Labor Law § 240(1) affords protection to workers engaged in the ‘erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure’ " ( Cicchetti v. Tower Windsor Terrace, LLC, 128 A.D.3d 1262, 1263, 9 N.Y.S.3d 727 [2015], quoting Labor Law §...

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9 practice notes
  • Lamela v. Verticon, Ltd., 529714
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • July 23, 2020
    ...subrogation, that claim was never asserted in its cross claims (see CPLR 3013 ; compare 128 N.Y.S.3d 96 Archer–Vail v. LHV Precast Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1258–1259, 92 N.Y.S.3d 434 [2019] ). Finally, contrary to Lamela's contention, Supreme Court did not grant relief to Cooler, but simply i......
  • Cnty. Waste & Recycling Serv. v. Twin Bridges Waste & Recycling, LLC, 2021-50789
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • August 13, 2021
    ...over the third-party defendants (Stewart v Volkswagen of Am., 81 N.Y.2d 203, 207 [1993]; see Archer-Vail v LHV Precast Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1260-1261 [3d Dept 2019]). However, that burden does not entail making a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction at this stage of the litigation......
  • James v. Ifinex Inc., 11320
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • July 9, 2020
    ...platform to trade tether after both of these dates, including as recently as May 14, 2019 (see Archer–Vail v. LHV Precast, Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1261–1262, 92 N.Y.S.3d 434 [3d Dept. 2019] [showing that the defendant operated an "interactive website" that made products available to New York......
  • Morin v. Heritage Builders Grp., Index 20183176
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • May 20, 2021
    ...safety practices for the protection of workers engaged in various construction-related activities'" (Archer-Vail v LHV Precast Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1259 [3d Dept 2019], quoting Landon v Austin. 88 A.D.3d 1127, 1128 [3d Dept 2011, accord Lieberth v Walden, 223 A.D.2d 978, 979 [3d Dept 1996......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Lamela v. Verticon, Ltd., 529714
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • July 23, 2020
    ...subrogation, that claim was never asserted in its cross claims (see CPLR 3013 ; compare 128 N.Y.S.3d 96 Archer–Vail v. LHV Precast Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1258–1259, 92 N.Y.S.3d 434 [2019] ). Finally, contrary to Lamela's contention, Supreme Court did not grant relief to Cooler, but simply i......
  • Cnty. Waste & Recycling Serv. v. Twin Bridges Waste & Recycling, LLC, 2021-50789
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • August 13, 2021
    ...over the third-party defendants (Stewart v Volkswagen of Am., 81 N.Y.2d 203, 207 [1993]; see Archer-Vail v LHV Precast Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1260-1261 [3d Dept 2019]). However, that burden does not entail making a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction at this stage of the litigation......
  • James v. Ifinex Inc., 11320
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • July 9, 2020
    ...platform to trade tether after both of these dates, including as recently as May 14, 2019 (see Archer–Vail v. LHV Precast, Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1261–1262, 92 N.Y.S.3d 434 [3d Dept. 2019] [showing that the defendant operated an "interactive website" that made products available to New York......
  • Morin v. Heritage Builders Grp., Index 20183176
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • May 20, 2021
    ...safety practices for the protection of workers engaged in various construction-related activities'" (Archer-Vail v LHV Precast Inc., 168 A.D.3d 1257, 1259 [3d Dept 2019], quoting Landon v Austin. 88 A.D.3d 1127, 1128 [3d Dept 2011, accord Lieberth v Walden, 223 A.D.2d 978, 979 [3d Dept 1996......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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