$3.3 Million

Rhonda W. v. The City of New York

In this case, a woman and her boyfriend approached the 65th Street transverse across Central Park on the morning before the NYC Marathon. They saw a uniformed City worker putting up barricades to close off the road they had wanted to cross on. They asked the man if it was still okay if they go through on the road he was closing. He said “Sure, go ahead.” What he didn’t tell them was the reason that he was closing off the road was because the part of the roadway underneath the second overpass, about a half a mile away, had a work crew and three trucks waiting to repave it because it was totally destroyed due to an underground sewer main break.

Rhonda and her boyfriend, as would be expected, rode their bikes right into the unguarded and non-visible excavation site that was in the pitch black area underneath the overpass. Rhonda’s bike went straight into a pit throwing her forward, smashing her face on the edge of the excavation. Rhonda sustained terrible facial fractures, lacerations and dental injuries all requiring 19 surgical procedures, leaving her with permanent facial scarring.

The City refused to admit that they or their workers were negligent. The jury disagreed and found for the plaintiff.

As of this writing, the case is being appealed and will certainly make law in the State of New York on the issue of municipal liability for roadway maintenance.

 

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