County may face lawsuits

FONDA – Montgomery County may face two personal-injury lawsuits this year after two notices of claim were filed in the county clerk’s office relating to accidents in Amsterdam.

Faye M. Mrazz and Charles Mrazz of Caroga filed a notice Dec. 6, about two months after Faye Mrazz allegedly was injured when vehicle was struck by a county-owned vehicle. On Oct. 13, Regina Breton of Fultonville filed a notice against the county and the city of Amsterdam after being struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk in the city on Aug. 14.

A notice of claim is a required step before a lawsuit can be filed against a public entity, like a city or a school. They are not required against other defendants who may be later named in the lawsuit. Notices must be filed within three months of an incident, and a lawsuit must be filed within 15 months.

The Mrazz claim and an accident report from the Amsterdam Police Department indicate Faye Mrazz’s vehicle was struck from behind while she was stopped at a traffic signal on Route 5 at the intersection with Clinton Street on Sept. 30.

The claim and report say the driver of the second vehicle, Robert C. VanAvery of Fonda, was in a truck owned by the county. VanAvery was charged with following too close. Both VanAvery and Mrazz complained of pain at the scene and were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, according to the accident report.

According to the claim, Faye Mrazz suffered fractured ribs, a hematoma on her head, a neck sprain and blurred vision. Charles Mrazz says in the claim her injuries cost him his wife’s “society, services and companionship.”

Breton’s claim says she was struck by a car while trying to walk across Guy Park Avenue near Steadwell Avenue, which is near St. Mary’s Hospital. She faults the city and county for unmaintained paint at the crosswalk and an absence of warning lights, road signs and traffic signals.

Because of the accident, she suffered more than a dozen injuries, including a broken arm and broken wrist that required surgery to insert plates and screws, according to the notice of claim.

The county also received a third notice of claim in the fall. David and Linda Buanno filed the notice in Nov. 1, about two months after David Buanno was struck with a flying tire while at Fonda Speedway. The claim also was filed against Fonda, the county Industrial Development Agency and the Montgomery County Agricultural Society, which owns the speedway at the Fonda Fairgrounds.