County Did Not Demonstrate Its Entitlement to Qualified Immunity Re: Obstructed Intersection
The Second Department determined the county did not demonstrate (as a matter of law) it was entitled to qualified immunity for the placement of a sensor station and the failure to trim the nearby hedges. The complaint alleged the sensor station and hedges obstructed plaintiff’s view of oncoming traffic, resulting in an accident. The county’s motion for summary judgment was properly denied. The court explained the analytical criteria:
A governmental body owes a nondelegable duty to keep its streets in a reasonably safe condition … . However, a governmental body is accorded a qualified immunity from liability arising out of a highway safety planning decision … . Such immunity is predicated upon an ability to demonstrate that the relevant discretionary determination by the governmental body was the result of a deliberative decision-making process … .
Contrary to the County’s contention, it did not sustain its prima facie burden on the issue of qualified immunity. The County failed to demonstrate, inter alia, that its placement of the sensor station cabinet and its decision to refrain from trimming the hedge were highway safety planning decisions resulting from a deliberative decision-making process of the type afforded immunity from judicial interference … . Iacone v Passanisi, 2015 NY Slip Op 08386, 2nd Dept 11-18-15