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Federal Employer’s Liability Act Claims Preempt New York Jurisdiction.

In general, the Federal Employers Liability Act preempts the New York Workers’ Compensation Law unless the parties waive their federal rights and claims. The Board lacks the authority to rule on jurisdictional issues regarding federal claims (such as whether or not the claimant is an employee of the interstate entity. This is because WCL § 113, states that “[t]he provisions of [the New York Workers’ Compensation Law] shall apply to employers and employees engaged in intrastate, and also interstate and foreign commerce for whom a rule of liability or method of compensation may be established by the congress of the United States . . . provided that awards according to the provisions of this chapter may be made by the board . . . in case the claimant, the employer and the insurance carrier waive their admiralty or interstate rights and remedies.”

In a recent case, McCray v. CTS Enterprises, 166 A.D.3d 1356 (3d Dep’t 2018) the court reversed a Board panel decision finding that the Board lacked the jurisdiction to determine issues of employment for employees engaged in interstate railway work because federal law preempted the state workers’ compensation law.

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