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In re 91st Street Crane Collapse Litigation

Supreme Court of New York, First Department

December 12, 2013

In re 91st Street Crane Collapse Litigation Xhevahire Sinanaj, as Co-Administrator of the Estate of Ramadan Kurtaj, Deceased, Plaintiff-Respondent, Selvi Sinanovic, as Co-Administrator of the Estate of Ramadan Kurtaj, Deceased, etc., Plaintiff, —
v.
The City of New York, et al., Defendants-Appellants, Michael Carbone, et al., Defendants. [And Third-Party Actions] In re 91st Street Crane Collapse Litigation Maria Leo, etc., Plaintiff-Respondent, — The City of New York, et al., Defendants-Appellants, Michael Carbone, et al., Defendants. [And Third-Party Actions]

Fabiani Cohen & Hall, LLP, New York (John V. Fabiani of counsel), for appellants.

Susan M. Karten & Associates, LLP, New York (Susan M. Karten of counsel), for Xhevahire Sinanaj, respondent.

Bernadette Panzella, P.C., New York (Bernadette Panzella of counsel), for Maria Leo, respondent.

Gonzalez, P.J., Andrias, Saxe, Richter, Clark, JJ.

Orders, Supreme Court, New York County (Manuel J. Mendez, J.), entered May 14, 2013, which denied the City defendants' motions for summary judgment dismissing the Labor Law § 240 claims as against them, unanimously reversed, on the law, without costs, and the motions granted.

The City defendants established prima facie that they were not owners under Labor Law § 240(1) (see Scaparo v Village of Ilion, 13 N.Y.3d 864 [2009]). The City had transferred ownership of the construction site to the New York City Education Construction Fund, a State agency, nearly a year and a half before the May 2008 crane accident in which plaintiffs' decedents were killed, and had neither retained nor exercised any ownership rights with respect to the property or the construction project. In opposition, plaintiffs rely on Vigliotti v Executive Land Corp. (186 A.D.2d 646, 647 [2d Dept 1992]), in which the transfer of a deed was found to be "nothing more than a financing mechanism, not a genuine transfer of ownership." However, nothing in the record before us casts doubt on the genuineness of the City's transfer of ownership in this case.


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