The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court. determined the motion to set aside the verdict in this slip and fall case should have been granted. Although plaintiff’s expert was properly qualified, his opinion that defendant’s improper installation of the sidewalk/manhole caused the sidewalk height-differential over which plaintiff tripped and fell was not supported by evidence in the record:
… [T]he expert reached his conclusion as to the defendant’s negligence by assuming material facts not supported by the evidence and by guessing and speculating in drawing that conclusion … . For example, the expert testified to having no knowledge of when the sidewalk was constructed, when the manhole had been installed, or the weight and inside dimensions of the manhole structure. Yet, he opined that the defendant was responsible for the settling of the sidewalk flag and manhole due to improper backfilling, simply because the manhole belonged to the defendant at the time of the plaintiff’s fall.
Contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, absent the expert’s assumptive and speculative testimony, there was no evidence of the defendant’s negligence. ” Ippolito v Consolidated Edison of N.Y., Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 08179, Second Dept 11-13-19