Court Dismisses Action Against City of New York Because It Did Not Own or Control the Arterial Highway Where the Plaintiff’s Accident Occurred

In a decision dated February 7, 2020, the Hon. Thomas P. Aliotta granted our clients the City of New York, New York City Department of Transportation and New York City Department of Design and Construction (collectively referred to as the “City”) summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety as a matter of law. The plaintiff, an employee of non-party CCA Civil Inc., was a union truck driver at the Staten Island Expressway Reconstruction and Bus/HOV Lane Extension Project. He alleges personal injuries resulting from his employment when he slipped and fell on ice at the active worksite. In support of its motion for summary judgment, the City submitted the sworn affidavit of a Senior Clams Specialist with the City of New York Law Department who averred that the plaintiff worked at a job site operated by the New York State Department of Transportation. The City also attached a copy of the executed contract showing that CCA contracted with the NYSDOT to complete the project in question. The City’s affidavit also included records indicating that the City did not perform construction work in connection with the project nor did it supervise, direct or control the construction activities taking place at the worksite. In reaching its decision, the Court cited to the Court of Appeals’ decision in Nowlin v. City of N.Y., 81 N.Y.2d 81 (1993), in which it held that the New York State Highway Law transfers ownership of arterial routes running through cities to the State during the “construction or reconstruction” of these routes. Here, the plaintiff allegedly sustained injuries while working at an active worksite located on the Staten Island Expressway, which represents one of these “arterial routes”. In opposition to the motion, the plaintiff failed to provide evidence demonstrating the City controlled the worksite or engaged in the contracting process where the NYSDOT selected CCA as the general contractor for the project. In light of the foregoing, the Court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety.

Michael Tartaglione v. City of N.Y. et al., Index No. 100187/2015 (Richmond Co. Sup. Ct., Feb. 7, 2020)

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