Personal Injury Defense Litigation

Phillips Lytle regularly represents clients throughout the state in premises liability matters, in which the plaintiff’s accident is unwitnessed and where early investigation often makes the difference in obtaining a favorable outcome. Our attorneys are well-versed in premises liability issues, including foreseeability, notice, reasonable time to cure defective conditions, open and obvious conditions, and intervening and superseding causes. Phillips Lytle attorneys have had repeated successes, both on motion and at trial, in defending premises liability cases for our clients, including clients that operate, own or oversee retail locations, office buildings, warehouses and industrial facilities.

Some of our noteworthy cases:

  • Defended a FORTUNE Global 500 banking corporation against premises liability suits that arose in connection with its operation of nearly 400 branch locations in New York State.
  • Defended a major utility in premises liability cases arising in New York, including obtaining dismissal of an action brought by a snowmobiler who alleged improper placement of a pole and support wires.
  • Successfully defended a major utility in an action brought by a motorcyclist who claimed personal injuries arising out of improper street cuts and underground conduit work. In this case, the major utility was able to recoup nearly all of its defense costs from insurance carriers for the contractor.
  • We defended a case alleging that a ladder manufactured by our client broke under normal use, that the ladder was defectively designed and manufactured, and that plaintiff was rendered paraplegic as a result of falling from the ladder. Through aggressive investigation, we were able to demonstrate that the plaintiff and his co-workers were not truthful about the facts of the ladder’s collapse, that he and his co-workers improperly used the ladder, and the ladder was not defective. The case subsequently settled on a significantly less-than cost of defense basis.
  • In a case involving a hunting ladder sold by our client, the plaintiff alleged that the ladder collapsed while he was climbing it, causing him to fall to the ground and sustain serious injury to his back and neck. We were able to demonstrate that the ladder was not defective and that the accident resulted from the plaintiff’s failure to follow the instructions and utilize required safety equipment. We successfully moved for summary judgment and the case then resolved on a less-than cost of defending the appeal basis.
  • Represented an international manufacturer of electronic equipment in a Canadian subrogation case in which a business claimed its computer server equipment was damaged when the air conditioning unit on our client’s server cabinet leaked. Our investigation showed that the leak had nothing to do with the design or manufacture of the cabinet and that the business had positioned the cabinet incorrectly and in contravention of multiple warnings our client provided. We secured the affidavit of the service technician who responded to the leak incident, after which the plaintiff insurer agreed to discontinue the case in its entirety. The case was resolved in approximately eight months.
  • In a case claiming that a portable air conditioning unit manufactured by our client was defective and caused a fire resulting in extensive property damage, we successfully demonstrated that evidence involving the claim had been spoliated and secured a stipulated dismissal of all claims against our client.
  • Defending premises owners throughout New York on weather-related premises claims, and obtaining dismissals based on defenses, including “storm in progress.”
Premises Liability