Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Interesting Negligence Issues All Rolled Up Into One Case

The case of Petty v. Dumont, contains a discussion of a few uncommon issues involving negligence. (1) The First Department reiterated the well-established rule that an innocent passenger is entitled to summary judgment despite issues of comparative negligence between defendants. (2) A known roadway hazard is a concurrent cause of an accident that is not superseded by driver negligence (citing Humphrey v. State of New York, 60 NY2d 742 [1983]). (3) By making "special use" of the roadway after the City had erected barriers in front of its facility after 9-11, Con Edison could be held liable to the plaintiff. More specifically, because Con Ed (a) controlled the barriers, (b) made use of the lane created by the barriers as an entrace to its facility and (c) benefitted from the security that the barriers provided, the Court applied the "special use" exception to the general principle that an abutting landowner is not obligated to maintain a public roadway.

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