Negligence and Proximate Cause Inextricably Interwoven—Verdict Finding that Defendant Was Negligent but Such Negligence Was Not the Proximate Cause of Plaintiff’s Injury Properly Set Aside as Against the Weight of the Evidence
The plaintiff-student was sexually assaulted at school. The jury found the school was negligent in its supervision of its students, but that the negligence was not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury. The Second Department determined the verdict was properly set aside as against the weight of the evidence. The issues of negligence and proximate cause were inextricably interwoven, such that finding the negligence was not the proximate cause of injury was against the weight of the evidence:
“A jury verdict should not be set aside as contrary to the weight of the evidence unless the jury could not have reached the verdict by any fair interpretation of the evidence” … . ” A jury’s finding that a party was at fault but that such fault was not a proximate cause of the accident is inconsistent and against the weight of the evidence only when the issues are so inextricably interwoven as to make it logically impossible to find negligence without also finding proximate cause'” … .
Under the circumstances of this case, the issues of negligence and proximate cause were inextricably interwoven, such that the jury’s finding that the defendants were negligent, but that their negligence was not a substantial factor in causing the infant plaintiff’s injuries, was contrary to the weight of the evidence … . Victoria H. v Board of Educ. of City of N.Y., 2015 NY Slip Op 05156, 2nd Dept 6-17-15