Friday, May 13, 2016

The Noseworthy doctrine and an inference of negligence.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division reversed the motion court and dismissed the complaint in this action to recover damages after a fall.

The defendant established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting a transcript of the plaintiff's deposition testimony, which demonstrated that the plaintiff was unable to identify the cause of her fall. In addition, the defendant submitted evidence that no dangerous conditions were observed at the location where the plaintiff fell prior to the accident.

The Appellate Division found that the Noseworthy doctrine is applicable here, as the plaintiff established that she suffered from amnesia from the accident. However, the doctrine did not relieve the plaintiff of her obligation to provide some proof from which negligence can reasonably be inferred.

Student note:  The doctrine imposes a lighter burden of persuasion on a plaintiff when the plaintiff establishes that the parties are not on an equal footing with respect to knowledge of the facts surrounding the accident.

Case:  Baterna v. Maimonides Med. Ctr., NY Slip Op 03461 (2d Dep't 2016)

Here is the decision.

Monday's issue:  Late notices of claim and statutes of limitations.