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Plaintiff trips on defective sidewalk flag - Tears of medial meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament - Plaintiff sues the owner and the manager of the building which the sidewalk fronted - Jury finds no negligence where plaintiff failed to prove who had dominion and control over sidewalk and who made prior faulty repair to sidewalk.

Kings County

The plaintiff, a 51-year-old male, alleged that he had tripped and fallen over a defective sidewalk flag. He contended that as a result of the accident, he would need knee replacement surgery and would be unable to return to work. He contended that he sustained tears of the medical meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament. He alleged that the owner and/or the manager of the building which abutted the sidewalk were responsible for its maintenance and were negligent in their repair of the sidewalk.

The defendants argued that they were not responsible for the repair of the sidewalk nor had they undertaken to repair the sidewalk. They argued that New York City owned and assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the sidewalk.

The plaintiff, a plumber who had been earning $________ a year, tripped and fell on a sidewalk on 41st Street between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway at 8:15 A.M. At trial, the plaintiff testified. On his behalf he called an engineer who was an expert on building and maintenance companies. That expert testified that the repairs must have been done by the owner of the building. The witness stated that there was no record that the city had made the repair, and that the city does not typically repair a small area of a sidewalk. He further stated that because of the type and characteristics of the repair, the repair must have been done in the past ten years. He further asserted that the repair was negligently done and allowed for the concrete base to deteriorate. The plaintiff demanded $________.

The defendants called as a witness the building manager, who stated that the building did not make the repairs because it did not have dominion and control of the sidewalk. The defendants called as their expert witness an architect who testified that it was impossible to determine when and by whom the repair had been done. He asserted that the repair could have been done by the building’s previous owner, the city, or by a public utility.

The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendants, finding that the plaintiff did not prove who had made the repairs. The jury seems to have agreed with the defendants’ architect, who stated that it was pure speculation to say that it was the owner who did the repairs.

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