defendants. Plaintiff sued the Erie City School District, the owner of Ainsworth Field, and the Erie Cardinals Baseball Club, groundskeeper of the field, alleging negligence in several respects, most notably in the failure to provide a "warning track" in front of the outfield fence. Those parties have now settled with the plaintiff.
Plaintiff also sued his own team, the Jamestown Expos, and its major league parent the Montreal Expos, alleging negligence in their failure to provide timely and adequate medical care for his injury, and for requiring him to continue playing despite his injury. Plaintiff alleges that continued play aggravated his injury and ended his career.
In a previous opinion we concluded that the New York Worker's Compensation statute barred plaintiff's negligence claims against his employers. At plaintiff's request, we granted leave to amend the complaint to plead a claim of intentional injury, an exception to the exclusivity of the New York Compensation Act. Plaintiff filed the amended complaint and discovery has proceeded.
Defendants Jamestown and Montreal have now filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that there is no evidence to support the claim of intentional injury. The parties have submitted briefs and evidentiary materials and the matter is ripe for disposition.
The intentional injury exception to the exclusivity of New York's Workers' Compensation Act is very narrow. In Finch v. Swingly, 42 A.D.2d 1035, 348 N.Y.S. 2d 266 (1973), the New York Supreme Court recited the rule:
Where injury is sustained to an employee due to an intentional tort perpetrated by the employer or at the employer's direction, the Workmen's Compensation Law is not a bar to a common law action for damages. A valid complaint under this theory of recovery must allege an intentional or deliberate act by the employer causing harm to the employee. In order to constitute an intentional tort, the conduct must be engaged in with the desire to bring about the consequences of the act. A mere knowledge and appreciation of a risk is not the same as the intent to cause injury. (citations omitted).