City Not Liable for Fall in Intersection

East 43rd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Image Credit: Google Maps.

Elderly woman’s cane lodged into manhole cover causing her to fall. On August 6, 2013, Hadassa Carlebach tripped and fell while crossing the intersection of East 43rd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan when her cane became lodged in a small opening in a manhole cover. Carlebach sued the City for the injuries she sustained from the fall.

The Supreme Court dismissed Carlebach’s complaint and the Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed. The Appellate Division ruled that the City was not liable for Carlebach’s injuries because the manhole was reasonably placed to drain the intersection and the holes in the cover were necessary to drain rainwater. The Appellate Division rejected Carlebach’s theory that the City had created an unsafe condition. The manhole cover, as the court noted, had been in place for at least two years without complaint or notice of danger or additional repairs.

(CIT) Carlebach v. City of New York, 91 N.Y.S.3d 84 (1st Dep’t 2019)


By: Kristina Jones (Kristina is a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2019).


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