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Rizzo Obtains Directed Verdict

May 7, 2012

Trial attorney Joe Rizzo obtained a directed verdict in the case of Apetz v. Town of Brighton. The Plaintiff alleged that she sustained a leg fracture when her foot became stuck in the mud while crossing a sidewalk buffer in an incomplete state of construction. At trial, the evidence demonstrated that the mud condition was caused by weather and other environmental factors affecting the area of the sidewalk buffer over a period of approximately three months. Rizzo applied to the court for a directed verdict upon close of the Plaintiff's proof on a number of grounds. Justice Evelyn Frazee (Supreme Court, Monroe County) granted Rizzo's application finding that prior written notice of the mud condition was required under the circumstances and no such notice was given to the Town, and that the mud condition was open and obvious.  Justice Frazee directed a verdict of no cause for action in favor of the Town of Brighton and the Plaintiff's complaint was dismissed accordingly. "The evidence showed that the Plaintiff was fully aware of the mud condition and fully assumed the risk of traversing the area," Rizzo explained. "I'm quite confident that the jury would have found in our favor had the Judge not dismissed the case on her own."

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