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Erie County

The plaintiff, a 37-year-old male, contended that he was a patron at the defendant’s bar with the third-party defendant when he sustained a lacerated wrist and lacerated ulna nerve when his hand went through the glass as he pushed the pane glass door to exit the bar. The plaintiff argued that the glass in the door was not safety glass and that due to the lack of a hand device with which one could open the door, his hand came into contact with the glass, resulting in the subject injuries. The plaintiff maintained that the condition of the door violated applicable state and local codes by its lack of a door handle. The plaintiff’s expert professional engineer testified that a pane glass door is a red flag situation further compromised by the lack of a door handle. This expert testified that any glass puts one on notice to investigate whether or not the glass is safety glass. This expert asserted that failing to provide safety glass created a dangerous condition. The defendant’s bartender testified that the pane windows were cleaned daily due to fingerprints. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff’s sensory and autonomic nerves were damaged causing numbness and permanent redness to the hand. The plaintiff was disabled for a period of seven weeks from his employment as a security guard. The defendant bar contended that it had no notice that the panes were not made of safety glass.

The owner, who testified that he heard the glass break, indicated that it was known that people pushed the door, but there were no prior incidents concerning this door. This defendant’s safety expert testified that despite the lack of safety glass and a door handle, the door was safe for its intended use. The defendant presented testimony from a City inspector who inspected the premises two months prior to the incident following renovations.

This witness testified that he inspected the premises for proper ventilation and arrangement of tables, but that he did not inspect the door. The defendant also argued that the codes cited by plaintiff concerned doors comprised of more than 80% glass and that these codes were not applicable to the subject door. The defendant presented testimony from two witnesses who claimed to have observed the third-party defendant push the plaintiff into the door during an argument. The plaintiff countered that these witnesses had their backs to the door. The plaintiff also countered with a witness in the bar who testified that the third- party defendant was not near the plaintiff at the time of the incident. The third-party defendant denied having argued with the plaintiff and having pushed him into the door. Both of the defense witnesses were salesman for the liability carrier at the defendant bar and the Court permitted introduction of evidence as to this defendant’s insurance coverage. The defendant called the plaintiff’s treating hand surgeon who testified that the condition was permanent, but that there was only a minimal residual disability. The plaintiff countered that his action was brought for pain and numbness, not for loss of use. The jury found for the plaintiff and ________% against the defendant bar. They then awarded $________.

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