City defeats highway injury claim

Exit for 96th Street on Henry Hudson Parkway near where accident occurred. Image Credit: Google Maps

Driver was left paralyzed after collision with a guardrail on Henry Hudson Parkway. Benjamin Yannick worked as a server at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manhattan. On October 27, 2003, after working from 3:30pm to 11:00pm, Yannick drove home to the Bronx on the Henry Hudson Parkway. Yannick lost control of his vehicle at approximately 12:50 a.m. near the intersection of 96th Street. Yannick veered from the middle lane of traffic to the left, crashed into the concrete median, then crossed diagonally across traffic to the right and collided with a guardrail. Yannick suffered a burst fracture at T-9 and was rendered paralyzed.

Yannick sued the City and Trocom Construction Corp. which was under a contract with the City to replace damaged guardrails in the area of the accident. Yannick claimed that the City was put on notice of a hazardous guardrail based on a history of two similar accidents in the area. Yannick also claimed that the area of the accident experienced recurrent flooding due to clogged basins which the City failed to address. The City and Trocom Construction Corp. moved to dismiss all claims.

Judge W. Franc Perry of the New York County Supreme Court dismissed Yannick’s complaint. Judge Perry found that the guardrail involved in Yannick’s accident was not within the scope of work performed by Trocom Construction Corp. and that the guardrail had not been damaged prior to the accident. Judge Perry also found that there was no evidence that the City had notice of recurrent flooding conditions near Yannick’s accident site. The complaints of flooding that had been received by the City concerning Henry Hudson Parkway were not specific14150 to the location of Yannick’s accident, and there had been no rainfall impacting the catch basins in the particular are of the accident.

Yannick appealed. The Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the New York County Supreme Court’s decision and granted the City and Trocom Construction Corp.’s motion to dismiss all claims.

Yannick Benjamin v. The City of New York, N.Y.L.J., December 23, 2019, at 20, col. 10029 (App. Div. 1st Dep’t December 19, 2019).

By: Tatyanna King (Tatyanna is a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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