In a prior post, we looked at the case of a child who lost an eye due to being poked with a stick by a classmate walking home from school. It was noted that the stick was taken from a brush pile in front of a home which violated a town ordinance. The homeowner and his landscaper agreed to pay a substantial settlement to the child.
The Appellate Division recently determined that a similar ordinance violation could not be considered as evidence of negligence. A bicyclist fell while riding in the street, sustaining serious injuries, when her bike snagged something from a brush pile placed in front of a private home. It was argued that the size and placement of the brush pile violated a town ordinance, but the court did not allow that to be presented to the jury. The bicyclist did present the town’s website warning that oversized brush piles could be hazardous to pedestrians and motorists. The court refused to consider the brush pile as a nuisance, and the jury found for the homeowner.
It should be noted that generally, violation of a statute can be considered as evidence of negligence. For example, failure to observe a stop sign resulting in a collision is negligent conduct.