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ARTICLE ID 25097

Plaintiff alleges that he slipped and fell on negligently shoveled sidewalk in front of defendants' home - Alleged negligence exacerbated dangerous condition - Spiral fracture of right ankle requiring cast - Plaintiff alleged that arthroscopic surgery eight years after fall was needed due to injuries sustained in fall.

Bronx County

The 41-year-old male plaintiff was walking on a sidewalk to his job as a boilerman when he slipped and fell on ice, suffering a spiral fracture of the right ankle. The plaintiff brought this action against the City of New York, the codefendant owner of a home adjacent to the sidewalk, and the owner of the home adjacent to this property as well. The action against the next-door neighbor was discontinued and the plaintiff settled with the City of New York for $________.

The evidence revealed that on March 15, ________, at 4:00 a.m., the plaintiff claimed was walking on the subject sidewalk with his brother to his job as a boiler man. The plaintiff related that he slipped and fell on ice, suffering a spiral fracture of his right ankle. The plaintiff indicated that the sidewalk was adjacent to the defendant O’Malley’s house, that O’Malley had negligently shoveled snow and ice, and that the ineffective snow removal exacerbated a dangerous condition. The defendant O’Malley acknowledged that he had shoveled the snow, but denied doing so negligently or in a manner which exacerbated a dangerous condition. He further argued that the plaintiff had fallen in the street, not on the sidewalk.

The plaintiff’s fall occurred shortly after the "Blizzard of ’93" in which a record 16 to 18 inches of snow had fallen. The defendant contended that the plaintiff fell less than one day after the storm.

He also argued that the plaintiff had not fallen on the sidewalk, but in the street, specifically East 239th Street. The plaintiff testified that he was walking to work, rather than driving because the roads had not been cleared of snow to permit driving. A non-party neighbor testified that she had arrived on the scene shortly after the plaintiff had fallen and that the plaintiff had told her that he had fallen in the street. The plaintiff argued that he had initially fallen on the sidewalk, but had then fallen into the street as he attempted to stand up.

Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital where his ankle was placed in a cast. He remained in the hospital for four days. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon testified that in ________ he had performed arthroscopic surgery with debridement on the plaintiff’s ankle and that he had removed bone, cartilage, and scar tissue. He testified that the plaintiff was suffering from ongoing pain and significant lack of motion.

The defendant’s expert orthopedist opined that the plaintiff suffered bilateral ankle arthritis which was unrelated to the fall and that the surgery in ________ was for injuries unrelated to the ________ fall.

The plaintiff called an expert meteorologist who testified that the snowfall had stopped approximately one day prior to the plaintiff’s fall. The plaintiff argued that this would have given the defendant adequate time to remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in a more thorough manner than he did.

The plaintiff asked the jury to award him $________ for past pain and suffering and $________ for future pain and suffering. The defendant made no offer. The trial lasted six days. After deliberating for 30 minutes, the jury returned with a defendant’s verdict, determining that the plaintiff had not fallen on the sidewalk, but on the street.

Therefore, the jury did not consider the question of whether the defendant had shoveled the sidewalk in a negligent manner so as to exacerbate a dangerous condition.

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