Christopher Otton Wins Summary Judgment In Supreme Court, New York County

August 7, 2015

The plaintiff was seriously injured in a trip and fall accident that occurred on the public sidewalk in front of 56 Fulton Street, New York, New York. As a result of the accident, plaintiff sustained a comminuted and impacted fracture of the left shoulder involving the humeral neck with extension into the humeral head; valgus deformity mal-union with marked loss of motion; persistent weakness, and significant cyclical inflammatory exacerbations can be expected due to the biomechanical changes; left facial injury with hematoma formation; and other soft tissue injuries which include anticipated post-traumatic arthritis.

Our client was retained by the City of New York to serve as a prime contractor for a massive renovation project in lower Manhattan which involved roadway excavation and resurfacing.  The work occurred in the roadway adjacent to the sidewalk on which plaintiff’s accident occurred.

Christopher Otton, crafted a successful argument that our client’s work did not contribute to the hazardous condition of the sidewalk. In opposition and during oral argument, adverse parties attempted to misconstrue the testimony and work records of our client.  The opposition attempted to paint a picture of our client working in close proximity to the accident location, including performing a “mass excavation”.  In reply, we pointed out the opposition’s misunderstanding of both the testimony and records.  Our client’s testimony was clear: the only work related to the “mass excavation” performed in 2009 was the establishment of “MPT” (Management and Protection of Traffic) which consisted of setting up barricades, barrels, and signs for the eventual excavation associated with the “mass excavation”.  We also pointed to the absence of expert opinion tying the work of our client to the misleveling condition.

The Court in its decision recognized that “the award of summary judgment is a drastic remedy that should not be granted where there is any doubt as to an existence of a triable issue”. Notwithstanding this high burden, the Hon. Lynn R. Kotler of Supreme Court New York County dismissed all claims and cross claims against our client based on the prima facie case presented by Mr. Otton.

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