The respondents and plaintiffs in this case are Marcy Drucker and Leonard Hoffman, who are co-partners as the administrator of the estate of Samuel Hoffman. The defendant and appellant of the case is Knight of Rest Products Corporation. The case is being heard in the First Department of the Supreme Court, the Appellate Division.
The case involves a person injury negligence action and was heard by a jury. The jury returned with a verdict for the defendant, but through a motion of the court the verdict was set aside as contrary based on the credible evidence available in the case. The defendant is appealing this motion and states that the plaintiff did not prove prima facie in the case and the verdict should not have been set aside as the jury was not needed to draw the inference of negligence. The defendant states that the order to set aside the verdict and granting a new trial should be reversed and the verdict entered in favor of the defendant.
On the first of August in 1950 two trucks, one that was driven by the plaintiff and the other was owned by the defendant were involved in a head on collision. The day of the accident was rainy and the road was slippery. The plaintiff was thrown from his vehicle and sustained injuries as a result of the impact.
The defendant disputed both the liability in the matter and the extent of the injuries that were allegedly sustained by the plaintiff.
The defendant did not call their driver as a witness in the trial and offered no testimony to question their liability. The only evidence as to what caused the accident came from witnesses.
The plaintiff testifies that he was driving and the truck of the defendant came from the extreme left lane and then was right in front of his truck. He remembers flying out of the vehicle and that is it.
John Babick, was driving a car right behind the truck of the plaintiff and states that the truck of the defendant sideswiped the plaintiff’s truck and then hit the truck head on. He said the plaintiff was flung from the truck and was lying on the road and bleeding.
The defendant offered testimony from a physician in the case as well. The physician stated that the plaintiff sustained a facial bone fracture and negated the complaints of back injuries and neurological complaints. This was the only proof given in the case by the defendants.
Case Discussion and Decision
There was evidence that the road conditions at the time of the accident were unfavorable. However, there was no proof in the case as to what caused the driver of the defendant’s truck to swerve into the other lane. The only information given about the accident was provided by the witness Babick. When considering this it is apparent that the plaintiff did not establish prima facie in the case.
After reviewing all of the facts of the case the court has approved the appeal made by the defendant. The order that set aside the verdict and granted a new trial is to be reversed. The verdict in favor of the defendant is granted.