Riddell v. City of New York, 177 N.Y.S.3d 95 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dept. 2022)

City and Transportation Department entitled to qualified immunity and driver’s own actions were sole proximate cause of the accident.

A driver brought an action against the City and the City’s Transportation Department, seeking damages for personal injuries sustained in an accident on an exit ramp, which was allegedly a result of the City’s and the Transportation Department’s negligent planning and design of the ramp. 

The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that the defendants met their burden of establishing, prima facie, that they were entitled to qualified immunity from liability by submitting evidence that the traffic plan for that area neither evolved without adequate study nor lacked a reasonable basis. Furthermore, the defendants established, prima facie, that the plaintiff’s own negligence in operating his vehicle while intoxicated and at a high rate of speed was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

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