March 25, 2004 - New York State Appellate Court upholds $560,000 award in Bronx broken step case
The New York State Appellate Division upheld a jury award of $560,000 to a girl who suffered multiple broken bones when she fell on a defective stairway in a Bronx apartment building. A four judge panel of the Appellate Division, First Department, decided the case, Rosario v. Carassone, et al. The defendants, who were absentee landlords, argued that the award was excessive. The appellate court affirmed the 2002 Bronx jury verdict by unanimously rejecting the defendants' argument, writing in the decision, "The damage awards do not materially deviate from what is reasonable compensation under the circumstances." The suit arose from an incident in October of 1994 in which the then-11 year-old Jennifer Rosario tripped on a broken step while leaving the apartment building for school. According to testimony, the landlord failed to repair the step for four years. Ms. Rosario suffered a broken leg and foot as a result of the fall. The accident left her with enduring pain and her doctor testified that she would require surgery as an adult to address ongoing problems with her foot. The jury deliberated for only one hour before returning an award on October 10, 2002 of $560,000. The New York Jury Verdict Reporter listed this case as one of the top ten slip and fall awards for 2002.