APRIL 19, 2024 – Senior counsel Laura Alto persuaded a Nassau County jury to find against a homeowner’s guest who sustained serious injuries in our client’s home due to a highly unusual and arguably extremely defective open landing design. So too, she did this without expert support.

Plaintiff, a guest at our clients’ home, stopped on a landing between floors on her way out, to talk to the client. The landing was exposed on one, twenty-inch side, adjacent to a darkened stairway to the basement. While the client had her back to plaintiff, plaintiff stepped back and fell off the landing into the basement, sustaining multiple foot and ankle fractures. She claimed that the open side violated a building code section requiring railings on open sides, as well as a failure to warn. 

Plaintiff’s expert was permitted to authenticate the building plans to show that an enclosure was on the drawings submitted for approval. He testified that the design was “unheard of,” dangerous and in violation of the Building Code. We were unable to obtain expert support. The clients testified that they had a certificate of occupancy, and and never had a complaint or incident in the over 20 years they owned the home.

Despite the foregoing, the jury found that the landing was not dangerous and returned a verdict for our client.