OFFICER RECEIVES A $750,000 SETTLEMENT FROM CITY OF NEW YORK AFTER INJURING HIS SHOULDER ON A STREET DEFECT IN FRONT OF HIS COMMAND
An Officer assigned to a Manhattan North command received a $750,000 settlement from the City of New York after injuring his left shoulder after he tripped on a metal protrusion to a trap door cover located on the sidewalk in front of his command. The Officer fractured his shoulder which necessitated surgery. The Officer was awarded a ¾ line-of-duty disability pension, however the Pension Board reversed the Medical Board’s findings and awarded the Officer an ordinary disability pension. The Officer retained DCD to bring a lawsuit against the City of New York. DCD sued the City of New York pursuant to Section 205-e of the General Municipal Law alleging the City violated Section 7-210(a)(b) of the New York City Administrative Code, Section 153.19 of the New York City Health Code and Section 27-a(3) of the Labor Law. During the negotiation process, the attorneys representing the City of New York made a low offer of $150,000 to settle the case. The attorneys claimed that the Officer was predominantly responsible for the line-of-duty accident because the metal protrusion to the trap door cover was “open and obvious” and that the Officer should have known and seen the defect. Dominic DiPrisco instructed the lawyers from the Corporation Counsel that pursuant to the Police Officers Right to Sue statute GML §205-e, the issue of the Officer’s fault contributing to the accident is irrelevant and not a factor. Pursuant to GML §205-e, an Officer cannot be assessed any degree of fault for their injury if the defendant committed a statutory violation causing either directly or indirectly the Officer’s line-of-duty injury. The City’s lawyers tried to adapt the same language (i.e. the defect was open and obvious) used by the pension board in denying the Officer his ¾ line-of-duty disability pension in justifying the low settlement offer. However, Mr. DiPrisco argued that the standards used by the pension board in determining incident v. accident are completely different from the standards used in lawsuits brought pursuant to GML §205-e. The Officer agreed to a settlement of $750,000 after a contentious negotiation between the City of New York, Comptroller and Mr. DiPrisco.