SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury finds landlord not negligent in building vestibule maintenance

March 17, 2014 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Debra Silber (top, right) makes a comment to defense attorney Javier Solano (standing) during his cross examination of the plaintiff in the negligence trial of Juan Enrique Rosa Rodriguez v. Noel Mercado. Justice Silber noted that Solano’s use of negation in phrasing his yes-no polar questions to spanish-speaking plaintiff Rodriguez (seated, center right) makes it difficult to ascertain Rodriguez’ responses as denial or affirmation. Court interpreter Thalia Llosa (seated, center left) is translating English to Spanish for Rodriguez.  

At issue in this trial which took place in Kings County Civil Term last Tues., March 11, was the determination of liability. The plaintiff testified that he was returning home in the early post-midnight hours of April 17, 2011, during a heavy rainstorm when, he alleged, he slipped in the wet vestibule of the Fulton St. apartment building in which he resides. He suffered multiple fractures to his hand. The building is owned by Noel Mercado. 

Plaintiff attorney Seni Popat (seated, right), of the law firm Cohen & Jaffe, sought to sway the jury that the slick wet floor condition contributed to Rodriguez’ injuries, as a consequence of Mercado’s negligence in the proper maintenance of the floor and weatherstripping around the entry door. Defense attorney Solano countered that the landlord exercised reasonable maintenance of the vestibule, and that Rodriguez’ injuries were not the result of any contributory negligence on the part of Mr. Mercado.  

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The jury deliberated several hours before returning a verdict in favor of the defendant. Court reporter Margie Breitfeller (seated, left) is transcribing the proceedings. 


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