OFFICER RECEIVES A ONE MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT FROM CITY OF NEW YORK AFTER INJURING HIS WRIST AND SHOULDER FROM A FALL IN A SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY TUNNEL
An Officer assigned to K-9 received a settlement of $1,000,000.00 from the City of New York after injuring his wrist and shoulder while training with his canine in a Second Avenue subway tunnel. Prior to this accident, the Officer had not participated in training at this location. After the training was completed, the Officer attempted to leave the tunnel. He exited through a door which had no floor and plummeted approximately 5 feet causing a right wrist fracture and a rotator cuff tear to his right shoulder.
The injuries required two surgeries to his shoulder and a surgery to repair his wrist. The Officer was awarded a ¾ line-of-duty disability pension. This case was initially featured in the 2010 Police Officer’s Right to Sue Newsletter in the late notice of claim section. The Officer was unaware of his GML §205-e right to sue and the 90-day time limitation to serve a notice of claim expired. The Officer was informed by a colleague that he might have grounds for a lawsuit. The Officer retained DCD and DCD immediately filed an application for permission to file a late notice of claim which was granted. DCD sued the City of New York pursuant to GML §205-e claiming the City of New York violated Labor Law §27-a(3) in not providing the Officer with a safe place to work. The City of New York brought the MTA into the case claiming the dangerous condition inside the vacant subway tunnel was the MTA’s responsibility.
The City also filed a motion for summary judgment against the Officer arguing that Labor Law §27-a(3) was not a sufficient statutory predicate under GML §205-e and that the Officer’s accident was not a recognized hazard under the Labor Law. Joseph L. Decolator defended the summary judgment motion. The Court held in favor of the Officer and against the City of New York seeking contractual indemnification from the MTA. The matter settled for 1 million dollars from the City of New York after a protracted negotiation.