After five years of denials and ongoing litigation, the Law Firm of Edelman, Krasin, & Jaye is pleased to announce a hard-fought victory in the premises liability case of Lyonnel Saintume vs. Elizabeth Lamattina. It took a Nassau County Supreme Court jury less than 30 minutes to find the defendant 100% liable for an August 2013 accident occurring in the attic of her Glen Head, NY home. The settlement amount is still under negotiation. The Plaintiff’s team was led by Trial Counsel Allen Rosner, an experienced litigator with Edelman, Krasin, & Jaye who has earned distinction among the top 2.5% of lawyers on the Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars” list and an esteemed place on the Top 40 Under 40 for the state of New York.
The Facts of the Case
Our client was a Haitian-born 55-year-old exterminator with 20 years of experience in his field. He was called out to the property of a retired kindergarten teacher who lived alone in a two-story colonial home for over 30 years. Though she admits she had never actually gone up into the attic during the lengthy amount of time she owned the property, she was confident enough as to the safety of the room to send our client up to look for bees. There were only beams for the contractor to walk across in the unfinished attic. He suddenly stepped on a five-foot section of rotted wood and plunged partially through the ceiling.
Defense Case Weak on Evidence
The Defense argued fiercely that we had “no evidence” to prove our version of events. They claimed the plaintiff simply lost his footing and fell between the beams, arguing that his testimony was “incredulous” and “inconsistent.” Though we had photos, they claimed the pictures showed nothing. The defense even went so far as to bring in a non-party witness from a painting company who initially testified he did not see any broken beams when he came to repair and paint the ceiling, but later confessed under cross-examination that he did not know whether there was damage in the attic or not.
Our Law Firm’s Tenacity and Knowledge of the Law Prevails
Mr. Rosner argued that the jury should think of this attic the same way they would any other part of the home. Would you claim ignorance if the kitchen ceiling caved in or the front stairs collapsed? Is it not the duty of a reasonable homeowner to periodically view these areas to assess the condition of these parts of the home? Certainly, prior to allowing another individual access to any part of your home, you would exercise due diligence in making sure there were no safety hazards they should be aware of, would you not?
As it turns out, the defense produced inconclusive photo-documentation and witnesses who had not been in the attic before or after the accident. What began as certainty that there could not have been rotten wood beams in the attic was finally revealed as one big “I don’t know” because the area had not been in use and had not been inspected for over 35 years.
The fact that the jury found the homeowner 100% responsible for the accident is a best-case-scenario outcome. At trial, we so effectively established that the condition of the attic should have been obvious to any responsible homeowner that the jury found the defendant unreasonable in sending the contractor up to the dangerous attic to find bees, and found our client was simply performing his job to the best of his ability.
If you or a loved one sustained an injury on another person’s property, do not hesitate to call Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.