Case Conclusion Date:June 27, 2000
Practice Area:Personal Injury
Outcome:The court upheld the judgment, because the trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant's intoxication, and properly failed to instruct the jury that passengers were not prohibited by law from using freight elevators.
Description:I have tried and settled hundreds of cases during my 30 years in the legal field. For your review, I will list just a few cases which have been decided in an appellate court. In this case, I represented the plaintiff. Defendant building owner appealed a jury award from the Superior Court, Providence County (Rhode Island) for plaintiff in plaintiff's action alleging defendant's negligence caused defendant to fall four floors down an open elevator shaft in defendant's building. Plaintiff sued defendant for negligence, alleging defendant's failure to repair an elevator in a building owned by defendant caused plaintiff to fall four stories down the elevator shaft. A jury awarded plaintiff damages, and defendant appealed. Defendant argued the trial court erred in allowing evidence of defendant's intoxication at the time of the accident and his alcoholism in the time prior to the accident, and that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that passengers were not prohibited by law from using freight elevators. The court held the trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant's intoxication and alcoholism. It was important for the jury to determine whether the defendant's almost constant state of inebriation was the real cause for his ignoring and/or inaction in failing to correct the dangerous mechanical interlock defect in the fourth-floor hallway door leading to the elevator in his building. The court held the trial court properly declined to instruct the jury on the freight elevator issue. At the time of the accident, the elevator was not being used as a freight elevator.