Sunday, October 28, 2012
Coney Island boardwalk plan a bunch of lawsuits waiting to happen
From the Daily News:
The city’s plan to give the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk a concrete and fake wood makeover could mean big bucks for lawyers, a Brooklyn judge suggested Thursday.
The phony slippery lumber could result in costly slip and fall lawsuits, said Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Martin Solomon.
“Has the city considered the possible eventual cost of the slip and falls?” Solomon asked a lawyer for the Parks Department at a hearing Thursday. “I’m sure there are trial lawyers waiting for the plastic wood.”
Coney Island advocates were in court fighting to stop the city’s $7.4 million plan to rebuild five blocks of the Boardwalk - a plan that could be used as a model to eventually rebuild most of the 42-block stretch, except for a small area in the Coney Island amusement district.
Solomon, a former state Senator from Bensonhurst who was an early backer of Coney Island redevelopment, flung barbs at lawyers on both sides of the case.
He chided attorneys for the neighborhood groups, saying he knew “a little more about this than you do ...” about Coney Island and its problems.
“I believe you, Judge,” said advocates’ attorney Anne Railton.
When Railton argued the Parks Department’s decision to rip wood slats from five blocks of the Boardwalk was part of a broader plan to tear up 1 million square feet of the famed walkway, the judge said, “You’re speculating on a lot of things.”
The Parks Department’s lawyer tried to deflect the judge’s concern about slip and fall lawsuits.
“The Parks Department has really thought through this,” Assistant Corporation Counsel Katie Kendall said.