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New York Appellate Court Finds that Jury’s Verdict in Premises Liability Case Was Not Supported by the Evidence

When the owner of a piece of property does not use reasonable care to keep the property safe for those who have a legal right to go onto the property, a premises liability lawsuit may result. In such an action, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s negligence resulted in his or her injuries. Of course, the defendant will likely deny that he, she, or it should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and the case may proceed to trial for a determination of the issues.

A party who is dissatisfied by the jury’s verdict and/or the decisions made by the trial court judge may be able to seek further review from an appellate tribunal. If you have been injured and question whether the owner of the property took reasonable care to ensure the safety of those visiting the property, you should speak with a Syracuse premises liability attorney to discuss your case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant city, seeking to recover damages for injuries he alleged sustained after tripping on a piece of torn carpeting in the city’s fire department (the plaintiff was employed as a firefighter). The plaintiff’s lawsuit contained allegations under New York General Municipal Law § 205-a, based upon alleged violations of the city’s building code and fire code. The case was tried to a jury, which found that the defendant had violated certain provisions of the city’s building code but that these violations did not cause the plaintiff’s accident either directly or indirectly. The jury also found that there was no violation of New York labor law by the defendant.

The plaintiffs filed a post-trial motion to set aside the jury’s verdict on the issue of liability and for a new trial. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and he appealed.

Decision of the Court

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department modified the trial court’s order, remitting the matter to the trial court for a new trial on the issue of liability as to the alleged violation of New York Administrative Code §§ 27-127 and §§27-128 and, if necessary, on the issue of damages. In reviewing the evidence, the court concluded that it could not be said that the weight of the evidence supported the jury’s conclusion that the plaintiff’s accident was the result of some other unidentified cause or that the accident did not occur at all. Because the jury’s decision was unsupported by a fair interpretation of the evidence, the trial court should have granted the plaintiff’s motion to set aside the jury’s verdict.

Have Questions for a Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

When the premises of a residence, business, or governmental office are not kept in proper repair, an individual can be badly injured or even killed. If you or a family member has been hurt on another’s property, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the accident. To schedule an appointment to discuss your case with an experienced Syracuse premises liability attorney, call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, at 315-479-9000. Please remember that there is a finite amount of time to file a claim for money damages, and suits in which a governmental entity may be a defendant may have additional requirements, including the filing of notice well before the time that the statute of limitations would otherwise expire.

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