Apruzzese v. Metro North Commuter Railroad
A plaintiff who allegedly is injured on a private road or crossing that is located in a private office park may not be able to prevail on a public nuisance count, because she may not be able to prove that the condition or conduct complaint about interferes with a right common to the general public. The plaintiff, Theresa Apruzzese, allegedly drove to the Stamford Advocate, which is located in the Riverbend Office Park. When the plaintiff was on Riverbend Drive South, a Metro North train allegedly collided with the plaintiff's motor vehicle. Apruzzese sued the defendant, Metro North Commuter Railroad, alleging it was negligent and that the plaintiff was injured as a result of a public nuisance. Metro North moved to strike the public nuisance count and argued that the plaintiff's complaint failed to allege that the plaintiff was enjoying a public right at the time of the injury. To prevail on a nuisance count, a plaintiff must prove: 1.) the condition complained about had a natural tendency to create danger and inflict injury on person or property; 2.) the danger created was a continuing one; 3.) the use of the land was unreasonable or unlawful; 4.) the existence of the nuisance was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries and damages; and 5.) the condition or conduct complaint about interferes with a right common to the general public. The plaintiff's complaint alleged that the Riverbend Office Park is privately owned and that the railroad crossing qualifies as a private crossing. The plaintiff failed to adequately allege that she was injured when she exercised a public right. The plaintiff did not allege that she possessed the right as a citizen to visit the area where she was injured and that she exercised that right at the time she was injured. The court granted Metro North's motion to strike the public nuisance count.