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Trial Win for William J. Decaire in Defense of Local Business Owner

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William J. Decaire successfully defended his client, a local property owner, at trial held in the Rensselaer County Supreme Court.

Plaintiff sued the defendant property owner claiming that its negligent maintenance of the loading dock where he worked caused him to trip and fall sustaining numerous injuries to his low back which ultimately required three surgeries.  In defense of his client, Mr. Decaire argued that no unsafe condition existed and instead plaintiff’s fall was staged in order to support his claim for both worker’s compensation benefits and this personal injury action.  Mr. Decaire presented proof that the plaintiff, an employee of a local moving company which was associated with his client’s business, was given notice of a lay-off from work effective at day’s end. Moments later, the plaintiff claims that he tripped and fell.  The proof showed that there were no prior trip and falls reported on the loading dock and, despite frequent inspections, the defendant was never cited by OSHA or any other agency for a code violation at the dock which would be expected if an unsafe condition existed.

On cross-examined by Mr. Decaire, plaintiff’s expert engineer admitted that he never reviewed the plaintiff’s deposition testimony to determine how or where the plaintiff fell, he did not inspect the loading dock until five years after the alleged incident, and he could not cite to any code violation with respect to the loading dock.  Mr. Decaire also cross-examined the plaintiff’s physician who admitted knowledge that after the alleged fall, the plaintiff was concurrently treating with multiple medical providers and selling his pain prescriptions to third parties.

Mr. Decaire also produced two defense experts; the first, a biomechanical expert who testified with respect to the mechanics of the human body during a fall and that the plaintiff’s deposition testimony of how he fell was inconsistent with body mechanics.  The second was an orthopedist who testified that the plaintiff had a pre-existing back condition and no signs of trauma from the claimed fall. Lastly, in support of his claim that the plaintiff’s claim was fraudulent, Mr. Decaire entered into evidence plaintiff’s employment application which showed that he lied to get hired and then 58 Certificates of Convictions documenting a pattern of plaintiff’s substantial criminal history, including schemes to defraud, larceny, criminal impersonation, and forgery.

The jury returned a no-cause of action in favor of Mr. Decaire’s client, finding that there was no proof that an unsafe condition existed on the defendant’s property and therefore no proof of negligence.

William J. Decaire is a partner at Carter Conboy in Albany. He represents businesses and individuals in the field of civil litigation, where he provides advice to a range of clients on governmental, business, and litigation issues.  He represents business and individuals in both federal and state courts in New York and Massachusetts, as well as state agencies, professional associations, and municipal boards. Mr. Decaire has been recognized as a New York SuperLawyer®.

Carter Conboy was founded in 1920 and has law offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York.  The firm serves clients in upstate New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey. For additional information about the firm, visit www.carterconboy.com or contact the firm’s Director of Marketing, Stacy A. Smith, at 518-810-0516 or ssmith@carterconboy.com.