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Four-wheeler lawsuit against city

Published 10:18pm Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Suffolk man is suing the city after he says he was injured while riding his four-wheeler along an abandoned railroad right-of-way.

David Rezendes, in a case against the city and an adjacent property owner, claims he suffered injuries when he drove his four-wheeler into a cable strung across the path on March 21, 2011. The cable was not marked with any flags or other warnings, the lawsuit states.

Rezendes is seeking $3 million in damages from the city and 5 Pines Corp., which the lawsuit says owns the property to the east and west of the path, which is in a wooded tract off Nansemond Parkway.

The lawsuit originally was filed against a third defendant, Swain and Temple, which was logging nearby property, but the company was dismissed from the lawsuit.

In the most recent hearing on the lawsuit, demurrers filed by the city and 5 Pines were denied. The city said it could be barred by sovereign immunity, governmental immunity or immunity, and said the plaintiff failed to state a claim and failed to show the city breached its duty of care. The case may also be covered under the “doctrine of contributory negligence,” according to the city’s demurrer.

Meanwhile, 5 Pines claims it did not actually own the property where the incident occurred and therefore cannot be held liable.

According to the lawsuit, Rezendes lay unconscious for several hours after the accident until a group of children playing in the area found him.

The lawsuit says landowners have a duty to ensure the land is free from hazards, especially if they know trespassers frequent the property.

The next hearing in the case has not yet been scheduled.

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