WCM Victorious in Second Department Appeal Arising Out of a Personal Injury Burn Case

New York, NY 

Counsel Cheryl Fuchs and Associate Gabriel Darwick successfully convinced the Second Department to reverse a Brooklyn trial court decision that denied our client’s motion for summary judgment in a case involving burns allegedly sustained in a bathtub.   In Mauskopf v. 1528 Owners Corp., the decedent was found in his bathtub with burns to the left side of his body.   The then 95-year old died a month and a half later.   There were no witnesses to the accident, but the decedent’s son claimed his father told him he was burned in the bathtub.  
We represented G. Bauer, Inc., a boiler service company that, upon request, performed repair and maintenance work on the burner of the building and otherwise performed annual Department of Building inspections of the boiler.   We moved for summary judgment on the basis that plaintiff could not identify the cause of the decedent ’s injuries without resorting to hearsay or speculation.   We also argued, that even if the decedent was burned in the bathtub, G. Bauer did not have a contract with the building to perform routine or systematic maintenance of the boiler, and never performed work on, or inspected the mixing valve that controlled the hot water temperature.   The trial court judge denied our motion on the basis that there were “issues of fact”.  The alleged “issues of fact” were not identified in the court’s order.  On appeal, the Second Department reversed the trial court and granted our motion on the basis that G. Bauer owed no duty to the plaintiff, as there was no evidence that G. Bauer’s work involved inspection or maintenance of the mixing valve.