Thus, plaintiff is barred from bringing any common law tort action for damages for personal injuries against his employer. Id.
In addition to plaintiff's claims against Gateway, defendant Schneider cross-claims against Gateway for indemnification and/or contribution. Gateway, asserting that the cross-claim fails to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted, now moves for dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In deciding this motion, all material allegations in the complaint are accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Schneider. North Star International v. Arizona Corporation Com'n, 720 F.2d 578, 580 (9th Cir. 1983).
The New Jersey Supreme Court has recently addressed the question of whether contribution or indemnification may be obtained from an employer who is covered by the Workers' Compensation Act. In Ramos v. Browning Ferris Industries, 103 N.J. 177, 510 A.2d 1152 (1986), the Court found that since the statutory remedy of workers' compensation is an exclusive remedy, an employer subject to the Act cannot be considered a "joint tortfeasor." Id. at 184. Accordingly, it held that such an employer is not subject to the provisions of the Joint Tort-feasors Contribution Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-1, and that a third-party tortfeasor cannot obtain contribution from such an employer. Id. Given this absolute bar to Schneider's recovery from Gateway in contribution, this aspect of Gateway's motion will be granted.
Schneider's claim for indemnification does not appear to be based on a contract provision requiring indemnification, but rather on the theory of implied indemnification.
In Ramos, supra, the Court explained that the Workers' Compensation Act precludes recovery in indemnification except where "a special legal relationship exists between the employer and the third party, and the liability of the third party is vicarious." Id. at 189 (citations omitted). It went on to hold that a contract to haul solid waste was insufficient to establish a claim for indemnification. Id. at 190. In the instant matter, Schneider has not pleaded any facts which could conceivably establish a "special relationship." As a potential third-party tortfeasor, Schneider is in a situation similar to that of the solid waste hauler in Ramos. Gateway's motion to dismiss the claim for indemnification will therefore be granted.
Accordingly, Counts I, III, V, and VI of plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed. The defendant Gateway shall also be dismissed from Count VII of the complaint. Schneider's cross-claim against Gateway for indemnification and/or contribution must also be dismissed. Plaintiff will be permitted to maintain Counts II, IV and VII of his complaint against Schneider.
An appropriate order shall be entered.
This matter having been brought before the Court on motion by defendant Gateway Terminal Services Corp. to dismiss complaint of plaintiffs and to dismiss cross-claim for indemnification and/or contribution of co-defendant Schneider National Bulk Carriers; and
This court having considered the submissions of the parties; and
For the reasons stated in the Court's opinion filed this day;
IT IS on this 8th of December, 1987, ORDERED that this Court's opinion and order of December 8, 1987 be vacated; and
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Counts I, III, V, and VI of plaintiffs' complaint be and the same are hereby DISMISSED; and
The defendant Gateway be and the same is also hereby DISMISSED from Count VII of the complaint; and
Co-defendant Schneider National Bulk Carriers' cross-claim for indemnification and/or contribution against defendant Gateway be and the same is hereby DISMISSED.