In any civil lawsuit case, including construction injury cases, there are several components involved. There is the factual side, but there is also the procedural side. Having a strong case in all of these areas is important in order to achieve a successful result. Working with a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney can help you ensure that your case is as strong as it can be in all areas.
One case in which these procedural rules played an important role in helping an injured worker was the lawsuit filed by Michael, a New York City construction worker. Michael was injured while working on the renovation of a women’s clothing store. Allegedly, his injury was a result of his tripping over a pile of debris left at the site by the general contractor. The pile contained a variety of things, including sheetrock, pipes, pieces of wire, coffee cups, soda cans, and pizza boxes.
Based on these events and the injuries he suffered, Michael decided to sue. Eventually, the trial court dismissed the case completely, eliminating the rest of the claim in the worker’s case.
The Appellate Division ruled that the order of dismissal was improper and that Michael’s case should be revived. The defense motion that led to the dismissal order was essentially a motion for summary judgment. That is a motion that allows a court to decide the case on the court papers filed by the two sides because, even if all of the disputed facts were resolved against the side that made the motion, that party would still win.
What is also important to know about motions for summary judgment is that the law requires that they be filed no more than 120 days “from the filing of the note of issue.” All that means that there’s a limited time to make these motions, and the defense in Michael’s case made their motion after the deadline had passed, so it should not have been granted.
Another problem with the trial court’s order related to another type of motion that the defense used, called a “motion in limine.” These motions, according to New York law, cannot be used as an “inappropriate device to obtain [summary] relief.” What that means is that the defense should have only been allowed to make its request after the close of Michael’s case. In this situation, the injured worker never got to put on his case at all, since the lawsuit was dismissed before it got to a hearing. Based on the procedural tools that the defense used, that should not have happened.
A lot of the items discussed above probably sound extremely technical and complicated, and, in some cases, they truly can be. The key thing to recognize from Michael’s case is that the rules of court procedure and the law have many intricacies that can work in your favor, whether to help you make your case or to help you prevent your opponent from short-circuiting your case before you even get to have your “day in court.”
If you have been injured at a construction job, you need skilled counsel who can make certain that your case is powerful and persuasive on the facts and also strong on the law and the rules of procedure. The diligent New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates have been working for many years to give our clients reliable representation and personalized attention.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.
More Blog Posts:
New York Court Says a Worker Hurt While Cutting Down a Tree Was Permitted to Pursue His Construction Injury Case, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 20 de Abril de 2018
What is a ‘De Facto General Contractor’ and What Can It Mean in Your New York Construction Injury Case?, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 9 de Abril de 2018