This is/was a "frivolous lawsuit."

 

In Mauthiere v. New York City Transit Authority, a case of first impression, a Queens woman claimed that she fainted and then fractured her ankle as a direct result of the New York City Transit Authority's failure to provide adequate air conditioning on its subway cars.

 

Not suprisingly, the Court dismissed her case before trial, and from its decision, it is clear that the Court did not view this case as a particularly close call:

 

"Plaintiff acknowledged that the air conditioner was working when she entered the subway car; defendant could not have had actual or constructive notice of the alleged defective condition that plaintiff claims existed in the subway car while the train was stopped between stations. Moreover, defendant avers that there is no evidence to support plaintiff's contention that the lack of air conditioning caused her to faint and fracture her ankle ...

 

"[T]here is no evidence to support plaintiff's allegation that defendant was negligent in failing to provide a 'reasonably expected level of air conditioning' at the time the train stopped between subway stations. Defendant has no duty to provide its passengers with air conditioned subway cars. Nevertheless, even if defendant owed such duty to plaintiff and breached it, plaintiff has yet to provide evidence to support her contention that the insufficient air conditioning in the subway car caused her to faint and fracture her ankle. Mere conclusions, expressions of hope, or unsubstantiated allegations are insufficient to defeat defendant's motion for summary judgment."

 

There are certainly times where cases are brought based on the belief that the defendant's records will bear out the plaintiff's version of events. But in this case, how did the plaintiff's lawyer not research whether or not the Transit Authority had a duty to provide air conditioning in its subway cars before filing suit?

 

Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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