Wanda Chambers v. City of New York Leo’s Pharmacy, Inc., Leonid Beres and Patrick Dillion KeySpan Energy Corporation
Type of Injury
BACK, KNEE AND NECK INJURIES
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. Dillon’s primary insurer tendered its policy, which provided $1 million of coverage, and Dillon’s excess insurer agreed to pay $1.7 million. Thus, the settlement totaled $2.7 million. The negotiations were mediated by Robert Adams, of National Arbitration and Mediation Inc.
On April 7, 2011, plaintiff Wanda Chambers, 50, a social worker, fell while she was traversing a sidewalk that abutted the premises of 951 Wyckoff Ave., in the Ridgewood section of Queens. She claimed that she sustained injuries of her back, a knee and her neck.
Chambers sued the sidewalk’s owner, the city of New York; the adjoining premises’ owner, Patrick Dillon; a tenant of a neighboring building, Leo’s Pharmacy Inc.; and Leo’s Pharmacy’s owner, Leonid Beres. Chambers alleged that the defendants were negligent in their maintenance of the sidewalk. She further alleged that the defendants’ negligence created a dangerous condition that caused the accident.
Dillon impleaded a utility that was believed to have excavated a portion of the sidewalk and/or the adjoining roadway, KeySpan Energy Corp. Dillon alleged that KeySpan Energy negligently created a dangerous condition that caused the accident.
Beres and Leo’s Pharmacy were dismissed via summary judgment. The matter proceeded against the remaining defendants.
Chambers claimed that she tripped on a cracked, displaced portion of the sidewalk. Her counsel contended that the defect was a long-standing condition that should have been repaired. A witness claimed that the defect had been present during six or more of the 12 months that preceded the accident.
Chambers’ counsel also contended that the defect was not a result of excavation or any type of work having been performed. They claimed that no such work was documented.
Dillon’s counsel claimed that, during the week that preceded the accident, KeySpan Energy undertook a major excavation project in the area in which Chambers fell. He claimed that KeySpan Energy created the defect that caused Chambers’ fall.
Dillon’s counsel also contended that the sidewalk’s defect was an open, obvious condition that Chambers should have avoided. He claimed that Chambers had regularly frequented the area during the five years that preceded the accident.
The city’s counsel contended that, per New York City Administrative Code chapter 2, § 7-210, a premises’ owner is responsible for maintenance of a sidewalk abutting his or her property.