Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Complaint Sounding in Common Law Negligence Against Defendants

In a decision dated September 26, 2011, Justice Debra A. James granted the defendants City of New York (“the City”) and Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc.’s (“Skanska”) motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint sounding in common law negligence against them.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded Skanska the contract for a project that required the closure and removal of a certain portion of the sidewalk on the east side of Church Street in New York City and the rerouting of pedestrians into a temporary, barricaded walkway. The plaintiff allegedly tripped on a manhole cover while walking in the temporary walkway.  The evidence established that the manhole cover was owned by third-party defendant, Empire City Subway Company.  The Supreme Court held that because neither the City nor Skanska owned the manhole cover and because the manhole cover was not within the construction site, the City and Skanska could not be held liable to the plaintiff for her alleged injures. Alternatively, the plaintiff had argued that the City and Skanska created the alleged condition by placing a temporary walkway over the allegedly broken and defective roadway in the area of the manhole cover. However, the Supreme Court found that the plaintiff did not meet her burden of proving that the City or Skanska performed any work on the roadway in the vicinity of the manhole cover at any time immediately preceding the date of the accident and/or otherwise caused the alleged condition.

Barrett v. City of New York et al., Index No.: 405347/07 (N.Y. Co. Sup. Ct., September 20, 2011)

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