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$________ Utility negligence - Failure of utility to inspect and maintain water cap in roadway - Legally blind plaintiff trips and falls over sunken water cap while crossing street - Fractures to non-dominant elbow - No income claims.

Middlesex County

The 60-year-old plaintiff contended that the defendant water company negligently failed to properly inspect and maintain a water cap in the street. The plaintiff contended that as a result, the cap became sunken, creating a tripping hazard.

The plaintiff’s expert engineer maintained that the condition clearly had existed for a significant time and the plaintiff contended that the defendant had constructive notice. The plaintiff also would have maintained that the defendant could not produce any records reflecting that the area had been inspected over an extended period.

The defendant maintained that the cause of the incident was the negligence of the plaintiff, who crossed the roadway without assistance notwithstanding that he had been legally blind for many years. The plaintiff would have countered that the defendant had an obligation to take reasonable precautions to protect all individuals, not merely people with good eyesight. The plaintiff also would have argued that a person without a visual impairment would still be confronted with a hazard if they didn’t happen to see the sunken cap.

The fractures were treated conservatively. The plaintiff contended that he will permanently suffer pain and restriction. The plaintiff also contended that he had to give up a favored activity of guitar playing and has difficulties with everyday tasks otherwise taken for granted. The plaintiff, who was declared totally disabled 15 years earlier by Social Security, made no income claims.

The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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