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June 2017

Gordon & Rees Attorneys Successfully Settle Case for Retail Fitness Chain Client During Five Day Trial

Westchester Senior Counsels Ryan E. Dempsey and Amy Curley successfully resolved a matter on June 13, 2017 during a five day jury trial before Judge Jerry Garguilo in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Suffolk County. 

The plaintiff, Thomas Lacey, allegedly sustained serious injuries while lifting weights at a retail fitness center in Deer Park, New York, when a steel cable attached to the handle of a rowing machine suddenly snapped, thereby causing Mr. Lacey to purportedly flip backwards off of the machine. 

The plaintiff’s theory of liability against the retail fitness chain was that the rowing machine was negligently maintained and inspected, and the plaintiff also sought to establish liability under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. The plaintiff’s alleged injuries included meniscal tears in his knee, which required surgical repair, and the plaintiff’s settlement demand prior to trial was $350,000. 

At trial, Gordon & Rees attorneys were able to establish that the retail fitness chain did not cause or create the alleged defective condition that led to the spontaneous failure of the rowing machine’s cable, while likewise demonstrating that the defendant had neither actual, nor constrictive notice of such condition prior to the plaintiff’s accident. Gordon & Rees attorneys were also able to establish that the plaintiff failed to offer sufficient evidence at trial to support his contention that the piece of equipment at issue was negligently maintained or inspected, while also arguing the inapplicability of the res ipsa loquitur doctrine. 

At the conclusion of the plaintiff’s case in chief, Gordon & Rees attorneys moved for a directed verdict and, notwithstanding the plaintiff’s wholly unreasonable demand prior to trial, the case ultimately settled for an extremely nominal sum before the court could decide the motion.  Westchester Office Managing Partner Donald G. Derrico oversaw Gordon & Rees's defense of this action.

Ryan E. Dempsey
Donald G. Derrico