WORONIECKI v. TZITZIKALAKIS

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

Henryk WORONIECKI, et al., Appellants, v. George I. TZITZIKALAKIS, Respondent, et al., Defendants.

Decided: November 23, 1998

Before O'BRIEN, J.P., FLORIO, McGINITY and LUCIANO, JJ. Parker & Waichman (DiJoseph, Portegello & Schuster, P.C., New York, N.Y. [Arnold E. DiJoseph III] of counsel), for appellants. Hodgson, Russ, Andrews, Woods & Goodyear, LLP, New York, N.Y. (Charles N. Rock and Jeffrey F. Basse of counsel), for respondent.

In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, etc., the plaintiffs appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Rappaport, J.), dated September 26, 1997, which granted the motion of the defendant George I. Tzitzikalakis for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, with costs.

 The court properly granted the motion of the defendant George I. Tzitzikalakis for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him.   A defendant will not be subject to liability in a personal injury action if he sufficiently demonstrates that he was not the owner of the property where the injury took place, regardless of whether the transfer of property was recorded (see, Riner v. Texaco, Inc., 222 A.D.2d 571, 635 N.Y.S.2d 658;  Cayea v. Lake Placid Granite Co., 245 A.D.2d 659, 665 N.Y.S.2d 127).   Here, the defendant sufficiently demonstrated that he had divested himself of any ownership interest in the property where the accident took place years earlier, and that he had not contracted for the work which caused the plaintiff Henryk Woroniecki's injuries.   Therefore, he is not subject to liability under the Labor Law (see, Perez v. Paramount Communications, 247 A.D.2d 264, 668 N.Y.S.2d 619;  Wendel v. Pillsbury Corp., 205 A.D.2d 527, 612 N.Y.S.2d 678).   The failure to record the quitclaim deed by which he divested himself of his interest in the property does not bar the granting of summary judgment, as Real Property Law § 291 “was designed to protect the rights of innocent purchasers” (Abbott v. City of New York, 207 A.D.2d 853, 854, 616 N.Y.S.2d 759), and not a party seeking to recover for personal injuries incurred in an accident on the property.

MEMORANDUM BY THE COURT.

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