Legal Memorandum: City's Duty to Maintain Safe Roads in NY

Issue: Under the laws of New York, does a city have a duty to protect travelers on a roadway from defective conditions created by an independent contractor?

Area of Law: Municipal, County and Local Law, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: City's duty to protect travelers; Defective condition of road; Independant contractor
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 384 N.E.2d 673; 412 N.Y.S.2d 127
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2001

The municipality’s duty to maintain safe roads does not extend to all users at all times.  For example, in Lopes v. Rostad, 45 N.Y.2d 617, 384 N.E.2d 673, 412 N.Y.S.2d 127 (1978), employees of a contractor performing street repairs sought to recover from the city for injuries sustained while making the repairs.  The court was asked to apply the statutory compensation provisions.  The court declined to afford these employees protection, finding that the workers had not been members of the limited protected class the legislature expressed concern for when enacting the legislation.  412 N.Y.S.2d at 130.  Therefore, it is important that the party seeking recovery establish that it is a member of the protected class.


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