Restaurant and dram shop successes
Littos v. CEC Entertainment[Supreme Suffolk]Defense Verdict. An 18-month-old infant was placed by her mother on a coin-operated merry-go-round located in a children’s play area of our client’s family-oriented restaurant. The mother attended closely to the child as the toy ride slowly rotated. When the mother turned away momentarily, the child fell to the floor, resulting in a significant fracture of her arm. Plaintiffs claimed our client was negligent for failing to provide a restraining belt to hold children firmly in place on the ride. We presented not only a liability expert, but also the official New York State inspector, both of whom testified that the ride met all legal requirements in spite of the absence of a restraining belt. We also presented expert testimony that a belt would be even more dangerous to an infant rider by creating a potential choking hazard. The jury determined that there was no negligence on the part of our client in operating and maintaining a coin-operated ride that had been manufactured and maintained to all legal specifications.
Summary Judgment & Dispositive Motions
McAllister v. LaParma Brothers [Supreme Suffolk] Plaintiff, a frequent diner at our client’s restaurant, claimed that as she was leaving her table on a particular evening, a patron seated behind her moved his chair into her leg, causing her to fall and suffer serious injury. Plaintiff alleged that the table configuration of the restaurant was hazardous, thereby creating the circumstances for this type of accident to occur. The court fully adopted the arguments made in our motion for summary judgment, holding: “There are certain occurrences which one might consider sufficiently recurring as to be incidental to the usual routine of life in our society, and, while one might strive to avoid them, their occurrence is not necessarily actionable without some proof of negligence. A few examples come to mind; accidental bumping into another while walking or in a crowded airport or terminal; getting up from a table in a crowded restaurant and accidentally striking one with the back of the chair as one stood up.”
Crook v. Wendy’s Int’l. [Supreme Suffolk] Plaintiff, an elderly woman, claimed she slipped and fell on the floor of our client’s restaurant due to spilled liquid. Plaintiff testified that she had observed a restaurant employee mopping the floor shortly before her accident. As a result of the occurrence, she had to undergo a total hip replacement, and was eventually forced to live in a nursing home. We moved for summary judgment, based upon plaintiff’s inability to establish actual or constructive notice of the spilled liquid. The court agreed with our position that plaintiff’s claims were purely speculative, and that there was no evidence establishing that the restaurant created the condition or had actual or constructive notice of it.