Lois Law Firm

TRIAL WIN: Attorney Joseph Melchionne Prevails on Jurisdictional Defense

Attorney Joseph Melchionne was successful in getting a claim disallowed based upon an argument that New York State was not the proper jurisdiction for which to bring the claim. The claimant is a 76-year-old delivery driver for an Italian restaurant located in Mahwah, New Jersey.  The claimant alleged that while making a delivery to a customer in New York State he was injured when he went to descend a flight of stairs and fell due to poor lighting injuring his head, neck, left hand, mouth, and teeth. As a result of the accident, the claimant spent nine (9) days in the hospital and underwent a cervical spine surgery and treated for significant injuries to his left hand. The claimant filed the claim in New York. The claim was denied by the carrier based upon an argument that New York was not the proper jurisdiction for the claim. 

At trial, the claimant testified that he resided in Mahwah, New Jersey and worked at the Italian restaurant located in New Jersey and as a crossing guard for the Borough of Ramsay, New Jersey. At the restaurant the claimant was a delivery person and he assembled pizza boxes part time. The claimant testified that  he was hired at the restaurant in New Jersey, the terms of his employment with the company were negotiated at the restaurant in New Jersey and he was paid weekly by check from the company from a bank in New Jersey. The claimant also testified that he cashed his checks at his bank in New Jersey. The claimant testified that he used his own car to make deliveries which was insured under New Jersey law.  The claimant testified that the restaurant is located 100 yards from the New York State line and about 50% of his deliveries were made in New York for towns such as Suffern, Tuxedo, and Nanuet. The claimant testified that on the evening of the subject accident he was making a delivery to Suffern, New York at around 8:00 in the evening when after making the delivery he fell down a flight of steps injuring his head, neck, left hand, mouth, and teeth. 

Following the claimant’s testimony, Attorney Joseph Melchionne argued that based upon the testimony produced at the trial and pursuant to the case law on the issue, New York State was not the proper jurisdiction for the claim.  As such, we argued that that the claim should be disallowed in its entirety. With respect to the issue of subject matter jurisdiction, we argued in summation that the case law has held that, factors which have been examined to make a determination as to whether or not the New York Workers’ Compensation Board has subject matter jurisdiction include: Where the claimant resides; where the claimant was injured; where and how the claimant was hired; whether the claimant was paid wages from a New York Bank; where the employment contract was negotiated; whether the claimant was paid to travel to and from another state and New York; whether the claimant’s schedule was negotiated in New York and whether the claimant worked at a fixed location outside of the state of New York.  Next, we argued that the claimant testified that he lives in New Jersey, his concurrent employment was in New Jersey, the restaurant is located in New Jersey, he worked for the restaurant assembling pizza boxes in New Jersey, made 50% of his deliveries in New Jersey, used his own car which was insured in New Jersey to make his deliveries, was paid in New Jersey, his checks were issued and cashed at New Jersey banks, he was hired in New Jersey, and he negotiated the terms of  his employment in New Jersey and as such, the factors weigh in favor of New Jersey being the proper jurisdiction for the claim and, as a result, the claim should be disallowed.

The law judge was persuaded by our arguments and determined that New York State was not proper jurisdiction to bring the claim, and as such, the claim was disallowed in its entirety. 

Defending Employers in New York, New Jersey, and Longshore.