Paterson fire chief loses appeal in pothole injury lawsuit against Passaic County | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Paterson fire chief loses appeal in pothole injury lawsuit against Passaic County

By Jayed Rahman
Published: August 10, 2016

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Fire chief Michael Postorino suffered another legal setback late last month in his personal injury lawsuit against Passaic County government for its alleged failure to plug a pothole on Grand Street that resulted in the chief suffering a knee injury as he was leaving a fire scene.

Postorino lost the initial case when a judge sided with Passaic County reasoning the county did not receive sufficient notice to repair the pothole outside of 324 Grand Street. The chief appealed the ruling which was decided on July 25th, 2016.

The chief argued the county had ample notice to fix the pothole. For example, as many as 40 county employees drive through Grand Street every day. He sustained the injury when he was leaving a fire scene and stepped on a large pothole covered by water on the morning of February 18th, 2011.

A day earlier a county inspector prepared a report that stated the county needed to fill potholes on Grand Street between Spruce Street and Railroad Avenue. The report did not specifically mention the pothole outside of 324 Grand Street, according to court documents.

“There is no indication that the pothole that caused Postorino’s injury was identified in this report. Yet, even if the pothole was identified, it was not reported in sufficient time to allow the county to repair it prior to the accident,” wrote appellate division judges Thomas Sumners and Harry Carroll. “In this case, nothing in the record indicates how long the pothole existed so as to determine that Passaic County should have known of its existence prior to Postorino’s accident.”

The judges also wrote the chief did not provide any expert testimony to support the pothole had been in existence for a long period of time.

Sumners and Carroll upheld the September 19th, 2014 ruling that favor the county government.


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