Harris Beach PLLC has successfully defended the City of New York and New York City Economic Development Corp. in a series of lawsuits arising from two accidents at the off-ramp from the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City.
The accidents occurred at almost the same spot eight days apart in 2011 and resulted in two fatalities, several other serious injuries, and substantial property damage. News reports at the time about the accidents included speculation that the drivers were confused due to construction in the area and the design of the off-ramp.
“The city has now proven that intoxicated and speeding drivers were the sole causes of the accident,” said Harris Beach partner Andrew J. Orenstein. “The courts have created a strong body of law that applies to roadway design claims and we are confident these rulings will hold up on appeal, given that the Court of Appeals recently issued a landmark decision in this area of law that the City used as a model for its defense.”
State Supreme Court Justice Bruce M. Balter granted the city’s motions for summary judgment in each of the four cases over a series of months this fall. In his rulings, Justice Balter agreed with the city on two principal issues: First, that the area was safe for drivers who obeyed the rules of the road; and second, that the City of New York was entitled to invoke the doctrine of qualified immunity in connection with roadway improvements.
To read the decisions:
- Alexander Palacio vs. City of New York, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Economic Development Corp., Liro Engineering Inc., Triumph Construction Co.
- Norman Grant Riddell and Nikki Lynn Riddell vs. City of New York and New York City Department of Transportation
- Roberto Rodriguez as Administrator vs. Alexander Palacio, City of New York, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Economic Development Corp., Liro Engineering Inc., Triumph Construction Co.
- Melissa Cohen and Itzhak Cohen vs. City of New York, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Economic Development Corp., Liro Engineering Inc., Triumph Construction Co., Norman Grant Riddell and Nikki Lynn Riddell
Orenstein led a team of attorneys in the New York City office of Harris Beach that represented the city and the Economic Development Corporation in connection with the cases.
About Harris Beach
Founded in 1856, Harris Beach and its subsidiaries provide a full range of legal and professional services for clients across New York state, as well as nationally and internationally. Harris Beach is among the country’s top law firms as ranked by The National Law Journal as well as a BTI Elite law firms based on in-depth interviews of more than 600 corporate counsel at the world’s largest and most influential companies. Clients include Fortune 100 corporations, privately-held companies, emerging businesses, public sector entities, not-for-profit organizations and individuals. Principal industries Harris Beach represents include education, energy, financial, food and beverage, health care, insurance, manufacturing, medical and life sciences, real estate developers, science and technology, veterinary medicine, and state and local governments and authorities. The firm’s more than 220 lawyers practice among offices throughout New York state in Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Melville, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as in New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.