Fullerton Beck Partner Angelo Bianco prevailed in a case involving a slip and fall in January 2020 caused by a defective sidewalk in a corporate park in Yonkers, New York. The plaintiff, who underwent surgery as a result of the incident, filed suit against the firm’s client, the building owner, in June 2020. However, Angelo’s preliminary investigation revealed that the plaintiff passed away in April 2020 from COVID-19 before the case was filed. As a result, the service of the action was nullified, as it should have been filed with an administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate.

The plaintiff’s counsel informed the court that the case was stayed until an administrator could be appointed. However, Angelo contested this and argued that the case should be dismissed as it was improperly filed. Moreover, the plaintiff failed to appear at three different court conferences. In June 2023, the court granted the defendant’s Order to Show Cause and dismissed the case, citing three reasons: 1) the case was filed improperly, 2) the plaintiff failed to appear at three court conferences, and 3) the delay in appointing an administrator.

This case highlights an essential point – even when facing adverse liability and serious injuries, a case can still be defensible on procedural grounds if counsel is aware of those procedures.