What's the easiest way to lose a $2.3 million verdict?
Have an appellate court find that the trial judge committed "egregious errors" during the course of the case and that an attorney's "misconduct" prejudiced the matter's outcome.
In Tehozol v. Anand Realty Corp ., Tehozol was attacked while retrieving his mail in his building's lobby. The central issue in dispute during the course of the jury trial was whether the front-door locks had been operational at the time of the attack and whether or not the incident had been caused by an intruder.
While the plaintiff and four other tenants were allowed to testify, when it came to the defendant-landlord's case, the Bronx County Supreme Court inexplicably limited the number of witnesses that could testify on the owner's behalf. According to the Appellate Division, First Department, that preclusion was "prejudicial."
But the irregularities did not end there.
The AD1 was also displeased with the "improper, unnecessary and unsupported insinuations" made by the plaintiff's attorney that one of the landlord's corporate officers had "intimidated" a witness, that "irrelevant and highly inflammatory evidence of criminal conduct" (which had occurred after the plaintiff's attack) was presented to the jury, and, "improper and prejudicial remarks" worked to adversely impact the outcome (to the defendant's detriment).
As a result, the AD1 wiped out the plaintiff's multi-million dollar verdict and a new trial was ordered.
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision, please use this link: Tehozol v. Anand Realty Corp .