ryan bannon wins post-trial motion overturning verdict on liability while sustaining, in dicta, damages award as to a property owner in a slip and fall accident

After trial, Ryan Bannon successfully defended a property owner in a personal injury action via post-trial motion for summary judgment. The case, venued in Supreme Court, Sullivan County, involved a slip and fall on ice near a staircase abutting the defendant’s property. At trial, plaintiff argued that the defendant created the icy condition by removing snow in front of the staircase. The jury found liability against the defendant, and Ryan immediately moved to set aside the verdict, submitting a post-trial motion for summary judgment. Ryan argued that the property owner’s removal of the snow did not create the ice. The facts at trial proved that the ice was created by the melting and refreezing of a snow bank created by a snow plow truck. The snow removed by the property owner was not involved in the accident.

The Court agreed with Ryan’s arguments, finding that no reasonable juror could have concluded that the ice was from the snow piled by the defendant. The Court granted Ryan’s post-trial motion for summary judgment, setting aside the verdict and dismissing all claims against the property owner.

In dicta, the court addressed plaintiff’s post-trial motion to set aside the verdict on damages as inadequate. Plaintiff put forth proof of a bimalleolar ankle fracture requiring three surgeries. The defense produced proof at trial that plaintiff could have mild pain or swelling associated with weather changes in the future, but otherwise, she would not have any long-term effects attributable to her fall. The jury awarded $100,000 in past pain and suffering and $0 in future pain and suffering. The plaintiff made a motion to set aside the verdict, arguing that the plaintiff should have been awarded money for future pain and suffering. Given that the court decided liability in favor of the defense, the court’s decision on this issue was dicta. The judge agreed with the defense’s arguments that the jury had every right to agree with the defendant’s proof and expert testimony. The Court denied plaintiff’s motion, and upheld the award, including the $0 for future pain and suffering. 

This Decision is currently being appealed by plaintiff.