Weather Report Used By Appellate Judge in Premises Liability Case

In an interesting case out of New York State, an appellate judge reversed a lower court ruling that found against a slip-and-fall accident victim. The case was brought by Mr. Palazzo after he slipped and fell on some ice outside the defendant’s residence.

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According to court documents, Mr. Palazzo was walking down the sidewalk outside the defendant’s residence at approximately 11:15 a.m. on December 15th when he slipped and fell. He testified that he noticed that the sidewalk was went and icy in some parts, but he didn’t notice any specific patches of ice. After he fell, he sued the property owner to cover his medical bills and his pain and suffering.

At Trial

The judge presiding over the trial made note of the fact that Mr. Palazzo didn’t see any specific patch of ice. The judge also looked at weather reports on the day of the accident that indicated that there was warm temperatures in the morning of the accident, and that it was unlikely that there was actually any snow or ice on the sidewalk. The most recent storm was on December 10th, when it snowed five inches.

The judge ruled against Mr. Palazzo, explaining that he failed to prove any liability on the part of the property owner. Mr. Palazzo then appealed the case to an appellate court.

On Appeal

The appellate court agreed with Mr. Palazzo and reversed the lower court’s judgment. The court of appeals also looked at weather reports, and agreed that the most recent snow storm was five days before the accident. However, the court looked at average temperatures between December 10 and December 15 and determined that the average was at or near freezing for much of that time. Thus, the court held, Mr. Palazzo’s version of the events was plausible.

The court of appeals ended up reversing the judgment of the lower court and remanding the case back to the lower court for that court to determine what damages were appropriate, now that liability had been established. However, before the court could make that determination, the parties settled at an amount of $235,000.

Reversing a Court’s Judgment on Appeal

An appellate court rarely intervenes in a lower court’s ruling unless the lower court made some kind of legal error in the case. This case is unusual in that regard. The appellate court essentially came to a different conclusion than the lower court and reversed based on that difference in opinion.

Are You in Need of an Attorney?

If you have suffered any kind of accident in Maryland, whether it be on the premises of another’s property, or in an auto accident, you should speak to an experienced Maryland accident attorney as soon as possible. Liability for accidents is often not apparent at first look, and requires the eye of an experienced legal mind. In many cases, diligent and creative representation can mean the difference between a recovery and nothing at all. Click here, or call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced and dedicated Maryland accident attorney.

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Can Maryland Birthing Malpractice Cause Autism? Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 16, 2011

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