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Personal Trainer Sues NYC Over Rock-Climbing Injury

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. | Last updated on

A personal trainer is suing New York City for injuries he sustained when he attempted to climb a large rock in the city's Hudson River Park.

Jonathan Stock, 32, of Brooklyn, says he ruptured his Achilles tendon after he fell from the boulder in June, according to the New York Post.

Stock is suing both New York City and the Hudson River Trust. His argument: There should've been a sign to prohibit people from rock climbing.

Suing the Government

Unlike suing an individual or private entity, suing the government for an injury on government property generally requires that you file a notice of your claim before you're allowed to file an actual lawsuit. Under government tort claim laws, failure to follow this procedure may preclude a victim from receiving compensation.


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In New York City, a victim or his personal injury attorney generally must file a claim within 90 days of the injury, with limited exceptions. After filing, the city will have 30 days to request a preliminary hearing to investigate the allegations. If the claim is denied, then a lawsuit can be filed against the city within a certain time frame, according to the New York City Bar.

Duty to Make Safe?

The Post article does not mention whether Stock filed a notice of claim. But his lawsuit asserts the rock in Hudson River Park created a "dangerous condition" and that the city was negligent for not putting up a sign prohibiting people from climbing it.

Under premises liability laws, a city has a duty to make sure that its property is safe for visitors and must check to ensure that it's free of dangerous conditions. The rocks at issue are an artistic arrangement of rocks of various sizes and shapes. It's unclear if other visitors have also tried to climb the rocks and gotten injured, but if there's a history of injuries because there's no sign barring people from climbing, then the city could potentially be liable for failing to alert people to the alleged danger.

The city, however, may try to argue that, among other things, Stock assumed the risk of injury when he attempted his rock-climbing stunt.

As Stock's lawyer told the Post, the rock "just invites you or anybody with any athletic sense to give it a try." For his part, Stock justifies his rock-climbing misadventure by stating, "Just because I'm an adult doesn't mean I don't get to explore the world, too."

Both the city and the Hudson River Park Trust declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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