A restaurant worker who is knocked unconscious by patrons from the adjoining karaoke bar can continue with his personal injury claims against the mall's tenants and the restaurant's shareholders.
In Zhang v. ABC Corp. ., New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Chamber upheld on Wednesday a decision to deny a summary judgment to the defendants who argued that they were not indebted to the worker. and was entitled to immunity under the employee's allowance.
Zhi Eric Zhang worked for Imperial Crown Corp., a management company formed by two shareholders in Grand Restaurant Group Inc., to operate the Imperial Crown restaurant, which was located on the third floor of a shopping mall and next to a karaoke bar. New World Mall LLC rented out the entire mall and rents out the third floor of the mall to GRGI.
On April 28, 201
Mr. Zhang filed a complaint against New World and GRGI and others for personal injury. New World and GRGI went on to summarize the verdict, arguing that they did not owe Mr. Zhang an obligation to protect him from an unforeseen and unexpected attack. GRGI also claimed that it was entitled to immunity under the exclusivity provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act because it was "alter ego" for Zhang's employer.
The Supreme Court of Queens County denied their proposal and the parties appealed.  The Board of Appeal upheld the decision, claiming that New World and GRGI failed to establish that the assault was unpredictable and unexpected, noting that company witnesses claimed they "lacked memory" of whether there had been a fight on the third floor of the mall. The court also found evidence of "an escalating situation" between Zhang and the drunken man, which denied the argument that it was sudden and without warning.
The Court of Appeal also held that GRGI failed to establish that it was Zhang's' alter 'ego' and that the two functioned as a single entity or that the entities exercised control over each other's day – to – day operations.