A woman who was branded with letters from the Consolidated Edison logo when she fell off a skateboard onto a searing hot manhole cover in Manhattan last year filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking unspecified damages from the utility.
Elizabeth C. Wallenberg, 27, was burned just above her buttocks and on her left arm when she fell off her skateboard onto a cover over a steam pipe at Second Avenue and 13th Street in the East Village shortly after midnight on Aug. 11, 2004, said her lawyer Ronald Berman. "It literally looked like a brand that had been applied by someone," Berman said about the burn marks left on Wallenberg's body.
He said she was treated for the injury in the Beth Israel Hospital emergency room and was released.
Wallenberg, then a Brooklyn resident who worked for Paper magazine, reportedly said she heard her skin sizzle and saw an "o" and an "n" from the hot cover impressed upon her body. Wallenberg has been told the scarring is permanent, Berman said.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, accused Con Ed of "negligence, carelessness, recklessness and culpable conduct" related to Wallenberg's injuries.
Court papers said Wallenberg, now a factory worker who lives in Portland, Ore., is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages because of Con Ed's "reprehensible and egregious failure and refusal ... to protect the public from this manifestly clear and present danger."
Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said he had no comment on the lawsuit.
someday, somewhere, a skateboarder might actually land a move
Skateboarder Branded by Manhole Cover Sues
Current Music: Killing Joke -- Age of Greed ♬
Some people pay good money for that kind of thing, and don't even have the story to tell about it after.
There was another person burned on a manhole cover and 2 or 3 people electrocuted in a flood that same summer, which gave a lot of attention to this lawsuit. Although it says she only filed it Thursday?
No date is listed in the article, butdoesn't suggest it's new as of Thursday. (You don't get to any state's Supreme Court except by appeal.)
AFAIK, the "New York Supreme Court" is the lowest state court. Go fig, I'm right.
Well, whaddayaknow. I've only ever been in traffic court in the Empire State (they're big on this overly-inflated adjective thing up there).
I guess "it just takes a while to file civil suits," then?
Well, if you want to trust Wikipedia. (And I say this as a regular contributor.)
Well, in this case, Wikipedia appears to be right.
The Supreme Court in NY state really is the lowest court. That's one of the odd bits of information I'm expected to carry around in my head for my work.
If you watch Law & Order you'll see that the trials in NYC happen in the Supreme Court. They didn't just make that up for the show, it's actually how it works.
You know, this is one I can actually agree with. Why the hell are manhole covers hot enough to BRAND someone? Unless she was somewhere she shouldn't have been (entirely possible if she was trying to find some cool new place to "thrash"), I think maybe a little recompense is order. Of course, some jury will award her 40 billion dollars, and a judge will reset it to a buck fifty, and I'll still be broke, so screw her.
Just after midnight?
I step down and look stupid.
Con Ed still delivers steam to some parts of Manhattan. They built the infrastructure way back when and never shut it down, and some customers still use it. This is the reason for the occasional vent pipe you find in the streets, spouting steam. Occasionally the pipes break or leak.
Counter-intuitively, there are A/C systems that run well by using steam.
Apparently if you heat ammonia it'll pull heat, so you can grab it from one place (inside) and take it elsewhere (outside) just like regular ol' ozone depleting freon. Though I've read this in several reputable places I still find it suspect. Heat=Cool? That's loony talk!
In the days before electricity ice was made with ammonia. Ammonia changes phase readily, so you can mix it with water and let the ammonia evaporate out, taking heat with it, then compress and liquify it and do it over again. Ammonia was also used in home refridgerators, but it's toxic (to humans, as opposed to the ozone layer), so once haloalkanes like Freon showed up everybody switched.
It's not heat=cool, it's evaporation=cool.
I'm surprised she isn't happier about it. That's, like, a lifetime supply of skater cred points.
The only regret is that the letters were the wrong way around.
Otherwise, think of what a kickass anti-rape PSA it would make:
"NO MEANS NO!"
Half a lifetime's worth. Getting a payout for it would be the other half.
How long until a copycat ?
why copy something that won't pay?
yup you're right -- she's got permanent street cred now.
Unless you're Tony Hawk, I really don't think you should be skateboarding past 25.
if you have a job as well, you're allowed to extend this deadline by a month for every percentage point over minimum wage.
So if you make five times minimum wage you get an extra 500 months? Cool! Does the same ratio apply to powerisers? What about rollerblading?
Aside from the lameness of it, its just plain dangerous! Once you hit 25 your body cant handle things like being flung against concrete surfaces at high velocity. I don't care how good your insurance is.
This is true. At 37, I flung my body against concrete surfaces at high velocity a few months ago and I still haven't fully recovered. But hey, you gotta get back on that horse, right? Or Poweriser, as the case may be...
Obviously, once you hit 25 you are no longer allowed to do anything fun.
once you start working for a living, you pretty much are excluded from anything fun.
ConEd should sue Elizabeth C. Wallenberg for copyright infringement, or at least marketing without the company's permission.
How could you not show the picture?
That's hot. I wonder how many kids will be inspired to brand themselves on manhole covers this summer.
That actually looks kinda cool... I like the pattern. The faded-looking lettering off to the side's weird, though.
I've seen a few scarrifications and brands on people, and I think that one looks the best out of all of them.
Thank you. I knew the picture was out there somewhere.
And I agree, as tattoos and such go, that's not a bad one.
Shame it wasn't a manhole cover that read "SANITARY" or "GREASE."
My girlfriend works for ConEd in the legal department so I get to hear all about their legal woes. Apparently the manhole covers do get hot. New York City has the countries most developed steam heating system. It's probablty a throwback from the late 19th century building boom. Anyway, the steam heating is a huge loss for ConEd, but they're required to provide it. Regardless, they put this semi-solid film on the top of the manholes that have the potential of getting hot. That's supposed to help disipate the heat. So when you see goo all over the top of the manhole on your walk into work...that's what it's for.
ConEd just paid $11M to the dogwalker who was electrocuted in the East Village. Remember kids, electicity is dangerous. Given the overall condition of this city, I'm surprised people aren't electrocuted more often.
P.S. Oddly enough, the Supreme Court in NY is pretty much the lowest court. Go figure.
And here I thought that goo was to provide full employment for the Department of Street Juice.
You know, those trucks that run around at night mixingthe day's grime with water to ensure even coverage.
I heart NY even more now that I live here. San Francisco just can't hold a candle to the pure filth and general nuttiness of this place.
As someone who used to skate down the hills of San Francisco in the heyday of the late 80s, I can say that skating in the street has its risks, but being branded by manhole covers should not be one of them. That goes beyond road rash.
brands are the new tattoos, people pay good money for that kind of thing
In which we learn the Connie Willis *really* likes to smoke.
the -> that (!)