Seven years after a 62 year old female subway rider fractured her hip due to the negligence of the train conductor, she finally had her case tried before a jury in 2014 and won. Just today, almost 10years after her accident - an Appellate Court overturned the jury verdict and directed a retrial before another jury solely on the issue of liability (fault). In March 2007 the plaintiff boarded a subway train and was walking toward her seat when the train suddenly "lurched/jerked" forward propelling her to the floor. The plaintiff suffered a severe hip fracture requiring surgery and a leg crush injury. The Transit Authority said the accident and injuries were the plaintiff's own fault. The Bronx County jury disagreed and awarded the subway rider $1,200,000 for 7 years of past pain and suffering and $300,000 for future pain and suffering over the next 10 years.
On appeal the NYC Transit Authority successfully argued that it was entitled to a new trial on liability only, because the trial judge erroneously allowed into evidence their internal rules on the operation of subway trains. When a corporation or municipality maintains an internal rule which imposes a higher standard of care than required by law, those internal rules may not be revealed to the jury. It's a public policy rationale not to penalize those who demand more from their employees.
The silver lining in this cloud was the Appellate Court's ruling that the amount of damages awarded was reasonable and will stand if the plaintiff wins the liability issue on the retrial. Sebhat v NYCTA, Appellate Division, First Department-November 22, 2016