Nicoletti Gonson Spinner

Second Department Confirms Trial Verdict in Defendant’s Favor

Josephine Vittorio v. U-Haul, New York App. Div., Second Dep’t, Docket # 2009-2412

In October 2008, in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Dutchess, Partner Kevin Pinter engaged in a five-day jury trial defending U-Haul in an action stemming from a trip and fall incident at the local U-Haul facility in Poughkeepsie, New York. At trial, we argued that the condition in question (a missing piece of floor tile) created no more than a trivial defect, which did not constitute a dangerous condition to members of the general public. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in U-Haul’s favor on October 24, 2008.

Plaintiff appealed the trial verdict, asserting that both the Court’s jury charge and verdict sheet were objectionable, and additionally, that the verdict was against the weight of the credible evidence presented at trial. We asserted (in a brief prepared by associate Pauline Glaser) that the propriety of the jury charge and verdict sheet was not preserved for appellate review, due to trial counsel’s failure to object to either during the trial. We further argued that the jury’s finding that the flooring within the subject U-Haul location was in reasonably safe condition on the date in question was amply supported by the evidence adduced at trial.

On October 7, 2010, Mr. Pinter argued the appeal before the Appellate Division, Second Department, and on October 26, 2010, the panel issued its decision, unanimously affirming the judgment in U-Haul’s favor.