Court Dismisses All Claims Against City and Contractor in Highway Motor Vehicle Accident Case

In a decision dated October 18, 2017, Justice Kevin J. Kerrigan granted our clients, the City of New York and E.C.C.O. III Enterprises, Inc., summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint against them together with all cross-claims. The plaintiff, a driver of a motor vehicle on the northbound Van Wyck Expressway, alleged that on May 6, 2014, she was injured when her vehicle was struck from behind by a truck owned and operated by the co-defendants, after which the plaintiff’s vehicle came into contact with a concrete barrier. The City moved to dismiss the claims against the it because the City did not own the Van Wyck Expressway where the plaintiff’s accident occurred, the City did not perform or hire anyone to perform any construction work at the location and the City was not legally responsible for maintaining the Van Wyck Expressway. The Court agreed and held that the road is a New York State arterial highway upon which the City did not direct or control any work. The Court also held that the City was not responsible for the roadway pursuant to the Highway Law, warranting dismissal of all claims against it. E.C.C.O. moved to dismiss all claims against it because the plaintiff was not a party to E.C.C.O.’s contract with the New York State Department of Transportation, and therefore, E.C.C.O. did not owe a duty to the plaintiff. E.C.C.O. further argued that the concrete barrier was properly positioned, the lane markings were properly delineated, the travel lanes were sufficiently wide and E.C.C.O. reasonably and properly relied upon the plans provided by the NYSDOT. In dismissing all claims against E.C.C.O., the Court held that E.C.C.O. provided ample evidence that it did not create or exacerbate a dangerous condition, was not responsible for the design plans of the NYSDOT and was not responsible for implementing any traffic control at the location. Accordingly, the Court granted the City and E.C.C.O. summary judgment and dismissed all claims against these defendants as a matter of law.

Clark v. City of New York et al., Index No. 16149/14 (Queens Co. Sup. Ct., Oct. 18, 2017)

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