Kim H. Townsend recently obtained a defense verdict in a Brooklyn premises liability case in which plaintiff fell into an uncovered, 4-foot-deep access pit and thereby sustained knee and neck injuries requiring cervical fusion and likely knee replacement surgery.
We represented a concrete and excavation company who performed snow removal services in winter months and, on the date of accident, accidentally removed a 350 lb. steel plate which was covering the access pit in question, all of which was confirmed by surveillance video. The plow driver, apparently unaware that his plow had struck and moved the 350 lb. metal plate, thereby exposing an open hole, continued plowing inadvertently filling up the pit with icy water and slush making it invisible to pedestrians and drivers alike.
Kim argued that notwithstanding our client indisputably displaced the metal plate from the pit and exposed the open hole, the owner of the premises and the manager of the sport facility, were solely responsible for the occurrence for failing to maintain the roadway in a safe condition and allowing the steel plate to rise above deteriorated asphalt, thereby allowing the condition which made it possible for the plow blade to remove the steel plate.
After 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury unanimously exonerated our client and found the owner and the manager each 50% responsible for the settlement value. Prior to trial, plaintiff’s demand was $4,500,000, after the liability verdict the case was settled for $1,500,000 by the 2 remaining defendants.