Deposition Testimony Trips Plaintiff (NY)
A recent decision in the Appellate Division, Third Department, illustrated the importance of pressing a party for specific details about the fall that caused their claimed injuries.
In Goldberg v. Village of Mount Kisco, et. al., plaintiff was strolling through a park owned and maintained by the defendants when he fell on an unpaved path. Goldberg sued the defendants claiming that he tripped over exposed tree roots along the path. But at his deposition Goldberg conceded that he did not observe the tree roots before or immediately after his fall. In fact, Goldberg testified that he did not “feel anything that caused him to fall.”
Although the trial judge denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, based on Goldberg’s deposition testimony, the Appellate Division reversed the decision and dismissed the complaint. The Court found that Goldberg’s deposition testimony established, as a matter of law, that his claim was based on pure speculation. His inability to identify the cause of his injuries without resorting to speculation was fatal to his lawsuit.
Thanks to Steve Kaye for his contribution to this post and please write to Mike Bono for more information.