OFFICER RECEIVES A $400,000 SETTLEMENT FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK AFTER FALLING OVER A TWO BY FOUR PIECE OF WOOD IN STATION HOUSE
An Officer assigned to a Queens Command was seriously injured when she tripped on a two by four piece of wood used to prop the basement door open leading to the parking lot. The Officer broke her right clavicle and suffered tears to her labral and rotator cuff after losing her balance and striking her right arm into the door and wall. The two by four piece of wood was necessary in order to keep the door open. The injuries necessitated surgery and the Officer was awarded a ¾ line-of-duty disability pension. Unfortunately, the Officer was unaware of her right to sue. The Officer retained DCD and DCD immediately filed the notice of claim to “stop the clock” from running. Over ten months elapsed from the date of accident to the date the notice of claim was filed. Joseph L. Decolator filed the late notice of claim application to a Justice of the Queens County Supreme Court requesting permission to file a late notice of claim. Mr. Decolator was able to persuade the Court that the City would not be prejudiced by the late filing because the LOD paperwork was detailed and concise regarding the specifics of the accident. The Court granted the Officer’s application. Mr. Decolator then sued the City of New York pursuant to General Municipal Law §205-e alleging the City of New York violated Labor Law § 27-a(3) and New York City Administrative Code §28.301.1 in not providing the Officer with a safe place to work. The City initially offered $150,000 to settle the case. Dominic DiPrisco was able to negotiate a settlement of $400,000 which the Officer accepted. The Officer avoided the risk of a trial and accepted the settlement.
One of the key elements in gaining approval from the Court in filing a late notice of claim application is the detailed LOD injury report. Courts have consistently held that the filing of the LOD injury report gives the City immediate notice of the accident and also typically includes the underlying theory as to what caused the accident. One of the City’s main arguments in opposing the filing of the late notice of claim application is that the municipality would be prejudiced by not being afforded the opportunity to immediately investigate the accident and to prepare a defense to any claims made against the City. Accordingly, the LOD injury report eliminates the City’s claim of prejudice since the report gives the City immediate notice of the accident and an opportunity to investigate.