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You Still Need Evidence -- Even in Brooklyn.

October 15, 2009

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In <i>Andrews v. New York City Hous. Auth</i>., the decedent was killed in an apartment fire, and his family sued the New York City Housing Authority, which managed the apartment building, for personal injuries and wrongful death. The trial court denied the Housing Authority’s motion for summary judgment.
The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision, holding that there was no evidence of negligent maintenance by the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority showed that the fire marshal determined that the cause of the fire was an electrical cord that ignited combustible material, not the nearby outlet or receptacles.
The Appellate Division found that plaintiff failed to raise a question of fact and rejected plaintiff’s fire expert’s assertion that the fire originated from an electrical fault within the outlet. Plaintiff's expert provided no factual support for his conclusions and failed to provide an explanation as to how the fire marshal’s findings were incorrect.
This decision reinforces the court’s position that mere speculation and unsupported allegations are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.
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