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Friedman v. State of New York

Court of Appeals of New York
493 N.E.2d 893 (1986)


Facts

Three drivers were in separate accidents, and each filed separate suits against the state. In the first case, Friedman (plaintiff) was struck by oncoming traffic. The state Department of Transportation had studied that road five years earlier and decided to construct a median barrier, but had failed to do so before Friedman’s accident. Friedman sued the State of New York (defendant), for negligently failing to construct the median barrier. The trial court granted judgment for Friedman and the Appellate Division affirmed. In the second case, Cataldo (plaintiff) was in an accident on a different road in 1973. Between 1962 and 1972 the state had conducted studies and decided not to construct a barrier on that road. Cataldo sued the New York State Thruway Authority (defendant), for negligently failing to construct a median barrier. The trial court found for Cataldo, and the Appellate Division reversed. In 1974, the state restudied the same road and decided to construct a barrier. In the third case, Muller (plaintiff) was in an accident on that road in 1977. At that point, the state had not yet constructed a barrier. Muller sued the State of New York (defendant), claiming the state was negligent in not constructing the barrier. The trial court found for Muller, and the Appellate Division reversed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Alexander, 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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