Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: Trip-and-fall case due to damaged sidewalk reaches settlement

December 12, 2017 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Francois Rivera listens as an expert witness for the plaintiff testifies in the premises liability trial Henderson v. Chauncey Housing, et al. Defendant’s attorney John O’Dwyer (standing), of the law offices of Ryan & Conlon, conducts the cross examination of consulting engineer Richard Berkenfeld (at left). At issue was the determination of liability.

Nancy Henderson was crossing the sidewalk by her Chauncey Housing apartment in November 2014 when she spotted a friend. The 68-year old longtime resident alleges that as she headed toward him, a defective sidewalk condition caused her to trip and fall. Henderson was represented by Howard G. Frederick (at right), of the law firm Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz, Schatz & Frederick. 

Berkenfeld testified that the uneven sidewalk presented a tripping hazard. O’Dwyer maintained that Berkenfeld conducted his measurement of the tree-damaged sidewalk flags in a different area than that where Henderson indicated the accident occurred.

A witness for the defendant denied being able to see the weathered duct tape purportedly visible in an evidentiary photo that Frederick used to support his contention that Chauncey Housing was aware of the defect that they allegedly failed to properly correct.

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After several notes from the jury during deliberations, the parties reached a $460,000 settlement in the trial that concluded last week in Kings County Civil Term.

At Rivera’s right Geormary A. Sanchez, an intern from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, pays close attention while court clerk Linda Brzynski (far right) attends to administrative duties.


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