While walking on the sidewalk, a man allegedly had a trip and fall accident on a portion of the sidewalk near the City Library which rests against metal grating. As a result of the accident, Gray sustained injuries to his left hand, his left forth finger, and to other parts of his body. He filed summons and complaint against five defendants. The action is to recover monetary damages for personal injuries sustained.
Sources revealed that Defendant A is a City in the U.S, Defendant B is a City Transit Authority, Defendant C is a Metro Transit Authority, Defendant D is an electric service provider and Defendant E is a public library. Defendants B and C requested to dismiss the complaint and all cross claims made against them. They contend that the plaintiff and the co-defendants have failed to state a cause of action as against them and that there are issues capable of trial in dispute as they do not own, maintain, operate or control the sidewalk or the grating where plaintiff fell. Defendant A argued that it is neither the owner of the subject sidewalk, nor is responsible for its maintenance. Defendant D argues that a question of fact exists whether it was responsible for maintaining the sidewalk as the Library has admitted in a previous case that it entered into a contract with a construction company for its rehabilitation and replacement.
The Plaintiff claims that the contractors previously performed work on behalf of the Library at the location of the accident.
The Authorities submit an affidavit from a civil engineer employed by the Defendant B states that she reviewed Gray’s notice of claim, the bill of particulars, and photos of the grating in question and conducted a search for blueprints of the sidewalk grating. The civil engineer maintains that she found no files or records relating to the subject area and further states that Defendant B does not own, maintain, operate or control the sidewalk or the grating where plaintiff fell. The civil engineer’s affidavit also states that the grating where plaintiff fell has a diamond pattern and hinges, which are utilized by Defendant D and not utilized by Defendant B. She concludes that transit gratings are curbside and are used to provide ventilation to train passengers directly below. This grating does not serve Defendant B and is not located at or on the Transit Authority system.
The Authorities also argue that, according to City Charter, public streets in the City are the property of the City and the City has the duty to maintain and repair any defects or dangerous conditions. They contend that, because the sidewalk in question is a public thoroughfare and the grating is the property of another party, the Authorities have no control or authority over said area. In addition, the Authorities contend that there is no evidence that they received prior notice of any perceived or alleged condition, nor has there been any showing that they created or caused the condition stated in plaintiff’s complaint.
The City contends that the Administrative Code of the City states that liability for the accident arising from a defective sidewalk has been shifted from the City to the owner of the real property which abuts the defective sidewalk. The City states that unless an exception is found to exist, liability for defective sidewalks attaches to the landowner and not to the City.
The Plaintiff contends that the Authorities’ motion should be denied as the affidavit of the civil engineer is self-serving and as the testimonies of the parties have not yet been conducted. He also argues that although the civil engineer claims that the grating does not belong to Defendant B and is of the type utilized by Defendant D, Defendant D has not affirmatively stated that the grating is in fact their own.
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