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Premises Liability

A 52 year old woman was injured as she left her house and fell in a hole in front of a fire hydrant on the easement owned by the town in her front yard. After extensive discovery it was found that the hole was created as the fire hydrant had been opened up in order to clear the lines and the proper screening device was not utilized to deflect the water so a hole was created. The person opening up the fire hydrant negligently left the hole and the home owner fell in and injured both of her ankles. Notice was filed against the town where the hole was as a defect in a public way (sidewalk area). Notice was also filed against the neighboring city that was responsible for the fire hydrants in both that city and the neighboring town where she fell. After the two notices were filed under Rhode Island law the matter was placed into suit against both the town and the city. The issue against the town where she fell was whether or not the town knew of the defect. The issue against the city, whose responsibility it was to maintain the fire hydrants, was the $100,000.00 limit of recovery against the city in Rhode Island. In addition, suit was filed against the worker for the city that opened up the hydrant on an individual basis. After discovery including depositions, the case was settled for $150,000.00.

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