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Adams v. New England Scaffolding, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 28, 2016

MILTON B. ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW ENGLAND SCAFFOLDING, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge.

         This is a negligence action arising out of a workplace injury. Milton B. Adams, while working as an employee of Rockwood Corporation, was injured at a work site in East Haven, Connecticut. He fell approximately 40 feet from scaffolding that had been at least partially constructed by New England Scaffolding, Inc. (“NES”). Adams filed a negligence claim against NES, alleging that the scaffolding was constructed in a negligent and unsafe manner. That claim was subsequently settled by Lexington Insurance Company, the insurance carrier for NES. Lexington, as subrogee of NES and third-party plaintiff, now seeks contribution and indemnification from third-party defendant Rockwood for the amount of that settlement. Lexington contends that Rockwood, as Adams's employer, was responsible for safety at the work site.

         Rockwood has moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. For the following reasons, that motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         Unless otherwise noted, all facts are stated as set forth in the complaint.

         In August 2011, Rockwood contracted with NES to erect an exterior scaffolding skeleton around the Saltonstall Water Tower in East Haven, Connecticut. (Compl. ¶ 3). Rockwood is both incorporated and has its principal place of business in New York. (Compl. ¶ 2). NES is both incorporated and has its principal place of business in Massachusetts. (Compl. ¶ 1).

         NES completed the scaffolding in early October 2011. (Compl. ¶ 4). Two weeks later, Milton B. Adams, a Rockwood employee and Massachusetts resident, fell approximately 40 feet from the scaffolding. (Compl. ¶¶ 5, 18). He was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident. (Compl. ¶ 6).

         In October 2013, Adams filed a lawsuit against NES in this Court alleging negligence in the construction of the scaffolding. (Compl. ¶ 10). In January 2016, Lexington Insurance Company, the insurance carrier for NES, settled that lawsuit. (Compl. ¶ 12).

         In November 2011, Adams began receiving worker's compensation payments from Rockwood through its compensation carrier, ABC Compensation Trust. (Compl. ¶ 13). Those payments were terminated in February 2014, when Rockwood concluded that Adams was not entitled to receive worker's compensation from its carrier. (Compl. ¶ 14, 16). Rockwood argued that ABC did not provide coverage for work performed outside of New York and, because Adams was a resident of Massachusetts and because the accident occurred in Connecticut, he was not covered under Rockwood's worker's compensation coverage. (Compl. ¶ 17, 18).

         B. Procedural Background

         On March 18, 2016, Lexington filed a complaint in this Court, seeking (1) contribution from Rockwood for its proportional share of Adams's settlement and (2) indemnification from Rockwood in the full amount of the settlement, plus costs and attorneys' fees. On April 1, 2016, Lexington and NES jointly moved to consolidate this case with the originally filed case brought by Adams against NES pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 42. The Court granted that motion. On June 8, 2016, Rockwood filed its first responsive pleading in the case, moving to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction.

         II. Legal Standard

         When a district court considers a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction without first holding an evidentiary hearing, a prima facie standard governs its determination. United States v. Swiss Am. Bank, 274 F.3d 610, 618 (1st Cir. 2001). In conducting a prima facie analysis, the court is required to take specific facts affirmatively alleged by the plaintiff as true (whether or not disputed), construing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff; the court, however, should not credit “conclusory allegations or draw farfetched inferences.” Ticketmaster-N.Y. v. Alioto, 26 F.3d 201, 203 (1st Cir. 1994). Although the court will construe the facts in the ...


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