OFFICER RECEIVES A $745,000 SETTLEMENT FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND A LIVERY OWNER AFTER BEING REAR-ENDED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
An Officer assigned to a Bronx command received a $745,000 settlement from the City of New York and a private cab owner after his RMP was struck from behind. The Officer was an operator of the RMP when he and his partner pulled over a vehicle on a traffic stop. While the Officer was in the RMP attempting to access the computer, a livery driver rear-ended the RMP causing the Officer’s right knee to strike the computer bracket. As a result of the contact the Officer sustained a serious injury to his knee which required two surgeries. The Officer was subsequently awarded a ¾ line-of-duty disability pension. DCD sued both the livery operator and the owner alleging the actions of the livery operator were negligent in rear-ending the RMP causing the Officer’s injuries. DCD also sued the City of New York pursuant to GML §205-e claiming the City of New York violated Section 27-a(3) of the Labor Law, Vehicle and Traffic Law Sections 382-C, 15 NYCRR 55.1 and 55.2 claiming the unpadded computer bracket created a dangerous condition and made the RMP not crashworthy. The City of New York made a motion to dismiss the Officer’s claim alleging the Officer failed to state an adequate cause of action. Joseph L. Decolator vigorously defended the motion. Mr. Decolator argued that Labor Law Section 27-a(3) requires the City of New York to provide Officers with a crashworthy vehicle and that an unpadded computer bracket created a dangerous condition and the RMP is deemed to be non-crashworthy. In a 22 page decision, the Court ruled in favor of the Officer and concluded the City of New York is responsible in providing members of the service with functioning equipment and would remain liable for an Officer’s injury as a result of being provided with faulty equipment. During an intense negotiation, the City settled their portion of the claim for $700,000 and the livery portion of the case settled for $45,000.