Five-Year Old Big Apple Map Held Not Too Old to Create Prior Written Notice Against NYC for Sidewalk Defect
Ive wondered about this. Beforethe law changed in 2003 and in most cases made abutting property owners, rather than the Cityof New York,responsible to those injured on sidewalks, Iwouldexplain to clients whohad fallen on a public sidewalk in the City that the City would not be liable (assuming it did not create the condition) unless it had received prior written notice of the defect,clients would ask Who would do that? Clients were happy to hear the answer: The Big Apple Sidewalk and Pothole Protection Corp. which prepared and filed maps showing the locations of sidewalk defects. But when the law changed, Big Apple stopped filing the maps. Current accidents where liability against the City is sought to be imposed have to rely on mapsthat go back to2003. I figured that eventually the City wouldmove to dismiss a case on the basis that the Big Apple Map was too old. Thatmotion came in the case of case of Weissman v. The City of New York (2010 WL 3991235) a Supreme Court, Queens County case. In a decision datedOctober 12, 2010, Justice Kevin Kerrigan held that the 2003 Big Apple Map was sufficient written notice for an accident that occurred in the year 2008. Much of the Court's reasoning came from an analysis of the Court of Appeals decision in Katz v. City of New York, 87 N.Y.2d 241, an oft-cited decision in which it was held that a subsequent successor Big Apple map of the same location supercedes an earlier one, prior notice to the City must be based upon the map closest in time to the date of the accident. Justice Kerrigan noted that in Katz the Court of Appealsemphasized that written notices must be maintained by the DOT for three years and in the municipal archives for no less than 10 years if it believed that notices that old were too stale and could never serve as prior written notice. It appears to be Justice Kerrigan's opinion that Big Apple Maps are good for 10 years. Unless Weissman is settled, there is every reason to believe that the City will appeal to the Second Department. It is not likely that the City chose to make its stand on this issue and will abide by a Supreme Court decision that is not in its favor. The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims. For over 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.