The litigation arose out of Plaintiff’s allegations that a sailboat boom was unsecured and struck her in the head resulting in injury. Plaintiff was an independent contractor working as an animal handler on a production photoshoot. On the date of loss, she was allegedly directed to stand at a certain location on the sailboat. After she placed the animal for the photoshoot, she supposedly turned around at which point she was struck in the forehead by an unsecured boom. As a result, Plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants were negligent in allowing the boom to have limited movement while she worked in the vicinity.
During Plaintiff’s deposition, she could not remember any details concerning events either before or after the alleged accident other than the above-limited narrative. To supplement this testimony, depositions of other fact witnesses were presented, including an actual witness to the incident, the boat captain, the assistant director of the photoshoot, and a producer. The testimony of these witnesses directly contradicted the Plaintiff’s version, and the additional testimony confirmed that the boom was properly secured before the shoot, and that there was otherwise nothing wrong with it. Further, no expert was produced to establish negligent conduct on behalf of the Defendants.
The Defendants moved for Summary Judgment, arguing that Plaintiff failed to meet her burden of establishing a prima facie case of negligence. The Court found that no expert was presented to substantiate Plaintiff’s claims relating to how Defendant’s actions or inactions at the photoshoot created an unsafe work environment. Plaintiff’s failure to present expert testimony was fatal to her cause of action as she could not prove negligence resulting from any limited movement of the boom. As a result, the Complaint was dismissed, with prejudice.
Congratulations to Audrey and Loudie on a job well done!
1 Audrey L. Shields, Esq. is a Shareholder in GRSLBG&B’s Litigation Department. She defends a wide variety of clients in various civil actions brought for in New Jersey State and Federal Courts. Audrey can be reached at AShields@grsl.com.
2 Loudie V. Srebnick, Esq. is an Associate in GRSLBG&B’s Litigation Department. She defends a wide variety of clients in various civil actions brought forth in New Jersey and New York State and Federal Courts. Loudie can be reached at LSrebnick@grsl.com.