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Defendant Requests Mistrial, Supreme Court Denies


This is a case being heard in the Trial Term of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Kings County, Part 3. This is a personal injury case resulting from an accident.

Case Background

In February of 1957, an accident took place on the corner of Broadway and Hooper Streets in Brooklyn, New York. There are two plaintiffs in this case, the driver of the vehicle and the passenger of a motorcycle that was involved in the accident. The plaintiffs claim that the motorcycle they were on collided with a truck from the Department of Sanitation of the City of New York. The plaintiffs claim that as a result of the collision the motorcyclewent out of control and hit another truck on the other side of the street. Both of the plaintiffs were thrown into the street, which caused personal injuries to them.

The plaintiff in this action contends that the defendant is negligent. During the jury trial the jury found that the defendant was the sole cause of the accident. During the case motions were set aside as the defendant moved for a renewal of the motion to declare a mistrial in the case. These are the motions that are being decided upon today.

The issue of liability in this accident has been sharply contested. The plaintiffs in the case state that the sanitation truck turned suddenly and caused a collision with the motorcycle that was to the left of the truck at the time. The defendant states that the truck was not moving at the time and was waiting for the light to change. The defendant further claims that the truck made no contact with the plaintiff’s motorcycle.

Court Discussion

The jury of this case felt that there was sufficient evidence to determine that the defendant was liable for this particular car accident. However, the court must determine whether the incident that occurred during the course of the trial was prejudicial enough to grant a mistrial to the defendant and if the verdict made by the jury is warranted by the evidence that was provided in the trial.

During the trial the plaintiff when asked to take the stand collapsed. The jury was still present during this time although they were removed from the room while the plaintiff was taken in the ambulance. The jury was informed that the plaintiff suffered from a brain injury that caused the particular incident that they had just witnessed. After this incident the defendant moved for a mistrial, which was denied by the previous court.

Court Decision

The court has carefully examined all of the facts of the case. This includes all of the evidence that has been provided in regard to the accident as well as what occurred during the jury trial of the case. When reviewing these facts the court does not feel like the episode the jury witnessed was prejudice towards the defendant in any way. The jury would have received information about the injuries that the plaintiff had sustained in the course of the trial anyhow. The jury was removed from the room while the plaintiff was tended to.

For these reasons, the court finds in favor of the plaintiff and the motion from the defendant for the declaration of a mistrial is denied.

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