The Paddling

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Q: One summer day, at two in the morning, I was conducting a pre-trip inspection of my subway train, standing inside a car.  Out of the blue, a wooden ‘shoe paddle’ fell upon my head.  It came from on top of a doorway.

Normally, these paddles are kept in their holders, inside the car.  Transit records seem to show that three hours prior to the incident, all the paddles were in their holders, and all the doors were free and moving properly.

I say that the shoe paddle had been wedged in the doorway by the subcontractor who was working on a modification of the train’s communication system.  My co-worker says that he saw the shoe paddle wedged there while the subcontractor was doing its work.  The subcontractor denies any involvement: its employees claim to have seen transit employees wedge the doors open with a shoe paddle, in the past.

A: To establish a case of negligence, it is enough that you show facts and conditions from which the negligence of the subcontractor and the causation of the accident by that negligence may be reasonably inferred.  The law does not require that your proof positively exclude every other possible cause of the accident.  Rather, you must render any other cause sufficiently unlikely to enable the jury to reach its verdict based upon logical inferences, drawn from the evidence.

From what you tell me, it sounds like you can indeed get before the jury with your contention that it was more likely or more reasonable that an employee of the subcontractor placed the paddle in the door than a transit employee.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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