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Derdiarian v. Felix Contracting Corp.

Court of Appeals of New York
414 N.E.2d 666 (N.Y. 1980)


Facts

Felix Contracting Corp. (Felix) (defendant) contracted to install a gas main. The worksite Felix excavated for the project was in the street. Harold Derdiarian (plaintiff), a subcontractor, was sealing a gas main using a kettle of 400-degree liquid enamel. James Dickens was driving near the worksite when he had an epileptic seizure, which caused him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into the worksite. Derdiarian was hit, and the kettle of enamel spilled all over him. Derdiarian burst into flames but survived. Derdiarian sued Felix, alleging that Felix negligently failed to ensure a safe worksite. At trial, Derdiarian’s expert in traffic safety testified that Felix should have built a barrier and taken other steps to protect workers from oncoming traffic. The trial court found in favor of Derdiarian. The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division affirmed. Felix appealed to the Court of Appeals of New York.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cooke, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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