“Bus Stop” Includes Sidewalk; Summary Judgment to City Denied

In Bednark v. City of New York (decided April 2, 2015), a bus-related personal injury case, the Appellate Division, First Department modified a lower court’s order granting summary judgment to the the defendant City of New York to deny that motion.

The facts:

Plaintiff was injured when, while disembarking from the rear doors of a bus, she stepped onto an allegedly broken and uneven sidewalk causing her to fall; the Heron defendants owned the property that abutted the sidewalk. Located approximately 55 feet west of the location where plaintiff fell is a bus stop sign designating an M60 bus stop.

In holding that the City was not entitled to summary judgment, the court explained:

A bus stop is not delimited to the roadway where buses operate but includes the sidewalk where passengers board and disembark from the bus. The City’s director of bus stop management testified that the length of the bus stop measured from the intersection of Second Avenue and westward along East 125th Street was 158 feet long, beginning 20 feet from the curb of Second Avenue. Plaintiff fell approximately 118 feet from the curb of Second Avenue. The fact that plaintiff believed she did not fall within the bus stop is immaterial since she has no knowledge regarding what defendant The City of New York has designated to be the location of the bus stop. Since a triable issue of fact exists as to whether plaintiff fell within a designated bus stop location, we modify to reinstate the complaint as against The City.

The motion court’s reliance on Section 16-124.1(a)(2) of the Administrative Code as limiting a bus stop to “five feet of the sidewalk and the gutter immediately adjacent to the curb,” was misplaced. The regulation pertains to the City’s responsibility to remove snow and ice adjacent to bus stops, and does not purport to define “bus stop” for all purposes. The regulation, which became effective three years post-incident, is in any event inapplicable.

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