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If you are told to move quickly by a company's employee, and injuries are suffered as a result of complying with that directive, can you recover damages? In the absence of a legally recognized duty, an appellate case suggests that the answer is a resounding no.
In Cohen v. Bank of America, Rosalind Cohen sued the Bank of America claiming she fell after observing a bank employee's "instruction" to "hurry." While the Bronx County Supreme Court refused to dismiss the case, on appeal the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed since Ms. Cohen was unable to prove that "haste" was the cause of the mishap. (Although the argument was later abandoned, Ms. Cohen had originally pointed to a carpet defect as a factor leading to her injury. Presumably, since she could not prove that the bank had actual or constructive notice of the irregularity, Ms. Cohen could not pursue that theory of recovery.)
Is the appellate court suggesting that instructions given by company personnel, while on company property, may be disregarded? And, is it not possible that if Ms. Cohen had been permitted to walk at her own pace, she would have observed any rip or tear in the carpet and avoided a misstep? Clearly, this case suffers from quite a few snags and leaves us with a number of unanswered questions.
If for nothing else, Cohen v. Bank of America stands for the proposition that haste makes waste...and may also leave you remediless.
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Cohen v. Bank of America, please click on the following link: