Court Grants City of New York Summary Judgment Dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint

In a decision dated November 17, 2010, Justice Kevin J. Kerrigan, Queens County Supreme Court, held that the City of New York was entitled to summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint alleging common law negligence and violations of Labor Law §§200 and  241(6).  The plaintiff was employed as a laborer by Tully Construction.  Tully was hired by the New York State Department of Transportation to repave the Grand Central Parkway.  The City issued work permits that allowed the State and Tully to enter upon the roadway and restrict the flow of traffic for the repaving project.  At the time of the accident, the right and center lanes were closed to public traffic. The plaintiff was straddling the left and center lanes tampering down asphalt when he was struck by a public vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed in the left lane.  The plaintiff alleged that the City owned, maintained and controlled the Grand Central Parkway and failed to properly maintain the workplace.  However, the evidence established that the State was in charge of the project and the City did not participate in the selection of the contractor, perform any work on the project, plan or inspect the lane closures or the placement of warning signs or other traffic control devices.  Rather, the City’s role was largely confined to its regulatory responsibilities of issuing work permits, including the right to issue violations or stop the work if it was not performed in compliance with the terms of the work permit.  Citing Albanese v. City of New York, 5 N.Y.3d 217 (2005), the Court held that the City’s limited role could not subject it to absolute liability  under  Labor  Law  §§200 or  241(6) for an injury allegedly resulting from the inadequacy of traffic control devices, personnel and/or barricades that were put in place by Tully and inspected or approved by the State.  In addition, because  the City did not bear responsibility for the manner in which the work was performed or the safety measures employed during the work, the City was entitled to dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims for common law negligence and pursuant to Labor Law §200.

Vinci v. The City of New York et al., Index No. 14730/08 (Queens Co. Sup. Ct., November 17, 2010)

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