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SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury finds defendant 90 percent negligent in slip-and-fall trial

December 10, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Peter Sweeney listens during a cross-examination in the slip-and-fall trial Haim Danan v. Nina Steigelfest. Attorney John Nicolini (standing), of the law firm Nicolini, Paradise, Ferretti & Sabella, represents Steigelfest. On the stand, Danan is accompanied by Hebrew language interpreter Meir Turner (at left). Danan is represented by attorney Evan M. La Penna (at right), trial counsel to the law firm Daniella Levi & Associates. Court reporter Angela Spinelli records the proceedings. At issue in the bifurcated trial was the question of liability. 

One morning in October 2010, Danan arrived at a home renovation site to replace a heating and cooling unit. In an attempt to reach his toolbox, he claims he stepped up to his van with one foot while the other slipped on construction debris. In a twisting fall, he suffered an ankle fracture, screamed from pain he called “horrific” and subsequently lost consciousness.

Nicolini maintained the position that no construction debris existed. Citing hospital records and non-party witnesses’ testimony, he alleged that Danan caught his foot and fell off the van. La Penna’s client testified that giving an accurate account at the time of the accident, either at the site or at the hospital, would have been compromised by his condition and his difficulty with the English language. 

The jury apparently agreed and returned a verdict of 90 percent negligence against Steigelfest. The jury will be disbanded before the trial resumes or resolves over the next few weeks, for the damages phase in Kings County Civil Term. 

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