Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: Alarm triggers fall but who’s at fault?

June 2, 2014 By Alba Acevedo For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Bert Bunyan listens as electrical inspector Joseph Best (seated, left) from the NYC Dept. of Buildings gives testimony away from the jury in the trial of Joseph Brun v. Blaze Electric, Inc. The proceedings are being transcribed by court reporter Jennifer Sampugnaro (seated, center).

At issue in this bifurcated trial is liability. The plaintiff contends that faulty work by Blaze Electric was to blame in the February 2010 power outage that triggered an alarm on the supplemental oxygen machine he was using overnight, in his bedroom. The suddenly awakened and disoriented plaintiff rose and subsequently stumbled, suffering injuries to his shoulder and knee.

The electrical work was executed by the defendant for then-landlords Michael and Jean Wallach in August 2009, and Michael Wallach testified that the work was ordered in response to a request by his tenant in the Park Slope 1st Street apartment to install a dedicated outlet in the living room, expressly for the use of the machine. The oxygen machine, as noted earlier, was plugged in the bedroom at the time of the accident. The bedroom outlet was also serviced by Blaze Electric, but while it was not a dedicated outlet, it was appropriate for use per the machine’s operating manual. The defendant is represented by attorney Patrick J. McConnell (standing, far right) of the law office of James J. Toomey.

The landlords Wallach were originally named as defendants in the lawsuit, but are no longer part of the trial. Their interests however are allowed to continue to be represented, as might be needed, by their attorney Jennifer L. Kelley (standing, second from right), of the law firm Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer LLP.

Plaintiff Joseph Brun is represented by attorney Richard M. Levy (inset, standing at podium), of the Brooklyn law firm Rubenstein & Rynecki in the trial that took place last week in Kings County Civil Term.

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