The firm’s New York office won a directed verdict on behalf of its clients in Westchester County.
The Plaintiff claimed to have slipped and fell on slippery carpet on the stairs in the building where she worked. Nobody witnessed or heard the incident. Nobody came to Plaintiff’s assistance and Plaintiff did not report the incident to anyone. After the alleged “fall,” Plaintiff left her office and took a train home. Our firm represented the landlord and managing agent in the case. During settlement discussions, Plaintiff made a $4,000,000.00 settlement demand.
Bill Joyce crafted a motion in limine to preclude Plaintiff’s liability expert on the basis that he based his conclusions on an inapplicable administrative code and had no reliable basis for asserting testimony against our client. Plaintiff’s expert relied upon an administrative code to conclude that the stairs in questions were not up to standard. Bill Joyce argued that the applicability of the administrative code was an issue of law left to the Court to decide. As Plaintiff’s expert opinion is limited to the alleged slippery nature of the carpeting there are no code provisions to be considered regarding liability. Additionally, Plaintiff’s expert report admitted to not testing the carpet involved in the alleged incident. By the time the liability expert conducted his examination, four years after the incident, the carpet had already been changed. As there was no testing of the carpet involved in the alleged accident Bill Joyce argued that the expert’s testimony about the alleged slipperiness of the carpet should be precluded. The Court granted the motion in limine and precluded Plaintiff’s liability expert.
At the conclusion of Plaintiff’s liability case, Paul McTiernan moved for a directed verdict. Paul McTiernan argued that as an out-of-possession landlord, our clients were not responsible for any carpets within the space leased exclusively to Plaintiff’s employer. Our clients did not retain control over the premises and carpet involved in the accident was installed by the tenant. Even though our clients had a right of re-entry there was no evidence that there was a structural problem at the premises or of a code violation. The trial judge granted the motion for a directed verdict.