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French & Casey LLP Defeats Wrongful Death Suit On Behalf of Long Island Utility

October 17, 2017 • Posted By • News

On September 12, 2017 in the matter of Ramirez v. Town of Hempstead, et al, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice James P. McCormack granted summary judgement dismissing negligence and wrongful death claims brought against the Long Island Power Authority (“LIPA”) and its former servicing agent National Grid Energy Services (“National Grid”), among other parties.  The lawsuit is proceeding against the two remaining defendants.

In this tragic case, a Long Island resident was fatally struck by a car one evening near the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Linden Street approximately a week after Superstorm Sandy.  The driver of the car, also a defendant in the suit, testified that he did not see the victim in the dark because the traffic and street lights were still out due to the storm.   

The victim’s estate sued alleging LIPA, National Grid, the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, and Nassau County’s designated contractor all breached their respective duties to restore power to the subject intersection, causing the driver’s failure to stop at the intersection and avoid the accident.  French & Casey attorneys successfully argued three salient points on behalf of LIPA and National Grid.  First, documents and testimony produced during the litigation lead to a conclusion that the victim was not in the intersection at the time of the accident, but instead was walking along the street because debris and snow blocked pedestrians’ access to the sidewalk; and neither LIPA nor National Grid was responsible for maintaining the sidewalk or clearing the debris.  Second, despite the power outage, the driver did not obey regulations applicable to the dark, post-storm conditions.  Third, LIPA had in fact restored power to the area after Superstorm Sandy, but the power was again disrupted by the ice-storm that occurred the day before the accident.  Therefore, LIPA, National Grid and several defendants were found not liable.

See Ramirez v. Town of Hempstead, et al., Index. # 12287/2014, Nassau Sup. Ct. Sept. 12, 2017.  For further information, contact Victoria Kennedy at vkennedy@frenchcasey.com.