Finz & Finz, P.C. commenced an action against the County of Nassau on behalf of a client who suffers from brain damage as a result of a single-car accident, alleging that the accident occurred as a result of the County’s negligence in failing to conduct a study of the traffic conditions at the accident location. As a result, the County negligently placed a traffic warning sign, which was intended to warn drivers that the road ahead curved, behind foliage, which impeded the plaintiff’s ability to see the sign. As the plaintiff did not have time to properly navigate the curve, he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.
Seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, the County made a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish how the accident occurred because there were no witnesses to the accident and the plaintiff has no memory of the accident as a result of the injuries he sustained. In support of the motion, the County submitted an affidavit from an expert engineer who opined that the plaintiff’s unsafe speed, not the placement of the traffic sign, caused him to lose control of the vehicle.
In opposition, Finz & Finz, P.C., submitted an internal memorandum from the County that was issued seven years before the plaintiff’s accident, in which the County acknowledged that there were multiple prior accidents on Stewart Avenue where the plaintiff’s accident occurred and directed that a study of the entire roadway be conducted. Finz & Finz, P.C., argued that the County failed to establish that such a study was ever conducted. In addition, an affidavit was submitted from an expert engineer on behalf of the plaintiff who refuted the County’s expert’s opinion as to the speed of the plaintiff’s vehicle and opined that the County’s negligent installation of the traffic sign placed motorists such as the plaintiff in danger.
Hon. Thomas Feinman of New York Supreme Court, Nassau County agreed with Finz & Finz, P.C., arguments and denied the County’s motion, holding that there are issues of fact to be determined by a jury and the case was set down for trial.