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Couple sues county over car crash

August 31, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

PALATINE - A Fort Plain resident and his wife are suing Montgomery County in New York State Supreme Court, claiming the county was responsible for an automobile accident last October.

Brian Whitman and his wife, Beth, filed a summons and a complaint through their attorney, Keith J. Starlin of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. The papers were received by the Montgomery County records office Monday.

According to the filed complaint, Montgomery County is responsible for County Route 34, also known as Stone Arabia Road, in the town of Palatine. The suit says at around 9:53 a.m. on Oct. 13, 2011, with the county having "actual and constructive notice and knowledge" of the supposedly dangerous conditions, Brian Whitman lost control of his car and ran off the side of the road, crashing into a tree at 1097 Stone Arabia Road. He suffered "severe injuries," according to the court filing.

The lawsuit claims the county failed to implement a proper and adequate design to maintain the road and failed to provide safety measures, despite having knowledge of the "hazardous, dangerous, and/or unsafe conditions on that roadway's surface."

The Whitmans are looking for an unspecified amount of money that exceeds the jurisdiction of the lower courts.

Palatine Town Supervisor and County Public Safety Committee Chairman Brian Sweet said this week he hadn't heard about the lawsuit yet.

"The county is responsible for that road. [The town] plows that road, but [it doesn't] necessarily maintain it," Sweet said. "That's why they're suing the county."

Sweet said he was not aware of any problems with the road.

County Attorney Doug Landon said is familiar with the case from notices of claim filed previously.

Landon said the county will do everything in its power to defend its interests.

Arthur Cleveland covers Montgomery County. He can be reached by email at



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