senate Bill S1354

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Relates to the ownership status of transit facilities

download bill text pdf

Sponsored By

Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

do you support this bill?

Actions

view actions (2)
Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to transportation
Jan 06, 2011 referred to transportation

Co-Sponsors

S1354 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A2960
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Public Authorities Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§1203 & 1203-a, Pub Auth L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S4380, A1337

S1354 - Bill Texts

view summary

Directs, upon conveyance of certain transit facilities, that the New York city transit authority shall be deemed the sole owner of such facilities with respect to all obligations and liabilities imposed by law on property owners.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S1354

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the ownership status
of transit facilities

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This bill would correct an unintended loophole in current law which
allows a small group of MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) employees to
recover from their employer in tort for personal injuries for which
they have already been fully compensated by workers' compensation
benefits.
This loophole undermines the basic premise of the workers'
compensation framework.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

This bill amends the public Authorities Law ("PAL") to expressly
provide that NYCT is the owner of all transit facilities in the City
of New York solely for purposes of non-delegable duties of property
owners imposed by state law.

JUSTIFICATION:

Under the PAL provisions creating NYCT, S 1201, ET SEQ Ct, the
Legislature authorized the City of New York to convey to NYCT by
deed, lease, license, or other arrangement all transit facilities
owned and operated, or thereafter acquired or constructed, by the
City and/or the Board of Transportation. In connection with such
conveyance, NYCT was to assume all legal responsibility therefor, via
Agreements of Lease (commonly known as the "Master Leases"). Because
the City accomplished this conveyance via the Master Leases, as
opposed to deeds, the transit facilities existing at the time of the
transfer and those built subsequently with the capital funds (but not
these properties financed by MTA or NYCT capital funds) are owned by
the City. While the City technically holds title to these facilities,
the City retains none of the traditional rights of an owner; NYCT
retains jurisdiction, control, possession and supervision of the
transit facilities. The City may not even terminate a Lease for so
long as any debt of the MTA or NYCT relating to transit facilities
remain outstanding. The City has no say over whether, when and where
system construction will occur and not power to ensure project
safety. Further, the Master Leases provide that
NYCT shall indemnify the City for any judgments arising out of
ownership and control over property subject to a Master Lease when
and if NYCT ceases using a specific piece of property acquired via a
Master Lease. Certain state laws, including Labor Law § 240, et seq.,
place non-delegable
duties on property owners absolutely responsible for worker safety in
instance involving the performance of certain types of construction
work. Labor Law § 240, which is a strict liability statute, is based
on the premise that property and that therefore no negligence need be
shown to find liability. Further, certain of these state laws,


including Labor Law § 240, do not exempt a fee owner from liability
even if the property is subject to a net lease and the actual fee
owner retains none of the actual indices of ownership application of
these statutes to be the unique set of facts created by the City's
lease of transit facilities to NYCT that has produced the inequitable
circumstance which this legislation seeks to remedy.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:
This bill will eliminate an unintended loophole which results from the
unique circumstances of the city's lease of transit facilities to
NYCT combined with the effect of the non-delegable Labor Law
provisions and is expected to save NYCT six million ($6,000,000)
dollars and numerous hours of staff time.

In November 1997, the New York State Court of Appeals held in the case
of COLEMAN V. CITY OF NEW YORK, 91 N.Y. 2d 821, 689
N.E.2d 523, 666
N.Y.S. 2d 553 (N.Y. 1997), that the City of New York, as fee owner of
certain transit facilities, is liable for worker injuries on the
premises of such facilities which result from a failure to comply
with Labor Law § 240, regardless of whether the City had control over
the property at the time of such injuries.
In essence, COLEMAN
provides that injured transit workers are able to recover twice for a
single injury received on the job - first, from NYCT under the
Workers' Compensation Law and, second, in tort against the City.
Because the Master Leases provide for NYCT indemnification of the
City for all damages arising out of NYCT operations, any judgments
against the City resulting from a violation of Labor Law § 240 are in
fact paid by NYCT. Thus, NYCT ends up paying twice for a single injury.

The Court of Appeals noted in COLEMAN that
the "Legislature has, in
the past, carved out exceptions from liability for certain owners,"
and the Court therefore declined to act in place of the Legislature.
Rather, the Court concluded that the Legislature could carve out an
exception for the City should it choose to and left it up to the
Legislature to so act. This bill implements the Court of Appeals'
suggestion. In so doing, this bill merely corrects an unintended
loophole, which enables workers to receive a double recovery for a
single injury at the public's expense.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009-10: S.4380/A.1337
2007-08: A.560
2005-06: A.756
2003-04: S.5128/A.1624A
2001-02: S.5024/A.9574
1999-00: S.4487A/A.8770

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

As noted, this bill would save NYCT and the City of New York the
expense of litigation and will save NYCT millions of dollars in
judgments and settlements.

EFFECTIVE DATE:


This act shall take effect immediately.

view full text
download pdf
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1354

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 6, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. DILAN, DIAZ, PARKER -- read twice and ordered print-
  ed,  and  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transporta-
  tion

AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the ownership
  status of transit facilities

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Section  1203 of the public authorities law is amended by
adding a new subdivision 8 to read as follows:
  8. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, UPON THE CONVEYANCE  OF
THE TRANSIT FACILITIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION, WHETHER BY DEED,
LEASE,  LICENSE  OR OTHER ARRANGEMENT, THE AUTHORITY SHALL BE DEEMED THE
SOLE OWNER OF SUCH  FACILITIES  WITH  RESPECT  TO  ALL  OBLIGATIONS  AND
LIABILITIES IMPOSED BY LAW ON PROPERTY OWNERS.
  S 2. Section 1203-a of the public authorities law is amended by adding
a new subdivision 12 to read as follows:
  12. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, UPON THE CONVEYANCE OF
ANY  OMNIBUS  LINE ACQUIRED BY THE CITY TO THE SUBSIDIARY CORPORATION IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION, THE SUBSIDIARY CORPORATION SHALL BE DEEMED
THE SOLE OWNER OF SUCH FACILITIES WITH RESPECT TO  ALL  OBLIGATIONS  AND
LIABILITIES IMPOSED BY LAW ON PROPERTY OWNERS.
  S  3.  This  act  shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all
matters arising on or after such effective date and to all matters pend-
ing on such effective date.



 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02929-01-1

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.