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Second Department Reverses Lower Court Dismissal Based on Deposition Demands

The Second Department reversed the dismissal of a lower court based on a Plaintiff’s failure to narrow down deposition demands.  The case of Rezak v. New York Presbyterian Hospital was commenced following a claim of medical malpractice in 2014.  In December 2017, the defendant moved pursuant to CPLR §3216 to dismiss the complaint for a failure to prosecute and additionally based on CPLR §3126 for a failure to comply with a court order.  The court order referred to in the motion was an Order to narrow the demands to depose witnesses affiliated with the Defendant.  The Supreme Court of Queens County dismissed the claim under both CPLR sections. Continue reading “Second Department Reverses Lower Court Dismissal Based on Deposition Demands”

Amazon Found Subject to Strict Products Liability

A Third Circuit panel of Judges held that a products liability lawsuit may continue against the global giant Amazon.  Over the past couple of years, Amazon has faced products liability lawsuits and has been successful in arguing that they are not liable for products liability actions stemming from sales of their third-party sellers. While most products liability claims are typically determined by state law, Amazon’s safe haven with regards to products liability claims is now under fire in several states. Continue reading “Amazon Found Subject to Strict Products Liability”

Second Department Grants Demand for Cell Phone Records in Motor Vehicle Accident Case

On July 24, the Appellate Division, Second Department issued a ruling upholding the denial of a protective order with respect to cell phone records. The case arose from a 2017 accident in Levittown, New York after a motor vehicle struck a pedestrian as they were crossing the street.  The accident occurred at approximately 6:00 p.m. The driver of the motor vehicle left the scene. They then denied any involvement in the accident. Several months later, the pedestrian brought an action against the driver to recover damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained as a result of the accident. Continue reading “Second Department Grants Demand for Cell Phone Records in Motor Vehicle Accident Case”

Second Department Rules Against Owner of Local McDonald’s in Premises Liability Case

A unanimous panel of Second Department Justices upheld the decision of a lower court denying summary judgment in favor of the national food chain McDonald’s. The case was initially brought in the Supreme Court of Kings County after an individual was hurt in a McDonald’s main lobby.  The Plaintiff was standing in line waiting to order when two women behind him began to fight.  The man then attempted to break up the fight, and, following his intervention, onlookers began to assault him.  The Plaintiff brought the claim against the individual for the injuries suffered, along with the owner of the local McDonald’s for a failure to provide adequate security at the subject premises. Continue reading “Second Department Rules Against Owner of Local McDonald’s in Premises Liability Case”

Court of Appeals Finds that “Stairway” was the Functional Equivalent of a “Sidewalk”

In the case of Hinton v. Village of Pulaski, a majority of the New York Court of Appeals found that a stairway is a functional equivalent to a sidewalk as it pertained to local village law.  The case arose out of a fall that the plaintiff had while descending an exterior stairway leading from a municipal parking lot to a public road. The plaintiff did not provide written notice of the fall to the Village, but subsequently commenced an action against the Village.
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Second Department Upholds Trial Court’s Decision to Not Vacate Dismissal

When New York State Court of Appeals Chief Justice, Janet DiFiore, assumed her position, she set the goal of reducing the backlog of cases across the state.  In the case of Melendez v. Stack, the Second Department decided in line with that goal in refusing to vacate a dismissal after a Plaintiff’s attorney did not have a reasonable excuse for their failure to proceed to trial.
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Second Department Holds Defendant’s Medical Records Are Not Admissible in Close Decision

In a 3-2 Decision, a panel of Second Department Justices held that a defendant’s medical records were not subject to discovery.  In the case of Peterson v. Estate of John Rozansky, the panel of Justices upheld a trial court’s decision to grant a protective order in regards to the deceased defendant’s medical records.  The case was initiated after the plaintiff, who was working at a toll plaza for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, was struck by an oncoming vehicle.  The accident occurred in 2004, and in 2005, the plaintiff brought suit against the driver of the vehicle, John Rozansky.
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Second Department Reverses Trial Court’s Decision in Products Liability Case

The Appellate Division Second Department reversed an Order of the Supreme Court, Richmond County, denying the defendants’ motions for summary judgment in a products liability case. The case involved a food preparation worker at a restaurant who lost several fingers in a cheese grater.  The worker intended to dislodge a piece of cheese from a cheese grater by placing his fingers in the hopper of the grater without turning it off.  The plaintiff’s fingers then struck the spinning blade of the grinder, causing him to sustain the loss of several fingers. The plaintiff then commenced an action against the restaurant, its owner, as well as the distributor and seller of the meat grinder.
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Second Department Reverses Award of Future Loss of Household Services

On March 13, 2019, a panel of the Appellate Division Second Department issued an opinion in which they overturned a lower Court’s award of future loss of household services. In the case of Finney v. Morton, Jr., the Second Department reviewed the decision of the Supreme Court of Dutchess County and remanded the case for a re-determination of the proper award.
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First Department Finds IME Observer’s Notes are Privileged

On March 19, 2019, the Appellate Division First Department issued a decision in which they held the notes of an IME observer were privileged.  The Court’s decision settled the variance between the trial Courts of whether the notes of an IME observer are protected by the attorney-client privilege. In the case of Markel v. Pure Power Boot Camp, Inc., the Plaintiff sought damages for a knee injury she sustained while participating in an exercise drill at defendants’ gym.  As part of the discovery process, the Plaintiff was asked to appear for an independent medical exam (IME) by an orthopedist to ascertain the extent of her injuries, if any.
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