The following post discusses a recent decision by the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, regarding the admissibility of “habit” evidence during a personal injury trial. In many instances, people think of personal injury law as straightforward or “cut and dry.” What could be complex about someone slipping and falling? This case is an example as to how personal injury cases are not always that straightforward particularly at the trial stage.
On December 23, 2010, plaintiff Veronica Gucciardi slipped and fell on ice in a parking lot outside of a restaurant owned by the defendant, New Chopsticks House. The plaintiff sues the defendant in a negligence cause of action for personal injuries suffered as a result of the incident. The Supreme Court of Richmond County granted the defendant’s motion to preclude the introduction of evidence related to a surveillance video. The surveillance video at issue contained footage of post-accident measures taken by the employer, which showed an employee dumping a bucket of water into the parking lot. Upon granting the defendant’s motion, the plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Division held that evidence of video recordings and testimony was inadmissible.