New York Trial Team and Newark-Based Aviation Litigation Team Obtain Defense Verdict In Airline's Favor

November 15, 2023

Partners Christian McGannon of the New York trial team and Thomas “T.J.” Keevins of the Newark, NJ-based aviation litigation team, headed by Douglas Amster, obtained a defense verdict on behalf of their airline client, Delta Air Lines, Inc., before a jury in Supreme Court, Queens County. This trial success occurred following the firm’s prior successful summary judgment motion and successful appellate defense of same, which resulted in the dismissal of claims brought by the plaintiff against The City of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

New York, N.Y. (November 15, 2023) - Partners Christian McGannon of the New York trial team and Thomas “T.J.” Keevins of the Newark, NJ-based aviation litigation team, headed by Douglas Amster, obtained a defense verdict on behalf of their airline client, Delta Air Lines, Inc., before a jury in Supreme Court, Queens County. This trial success occurred following the firm’s prior successful summary judgment motion and successful appellate defense of same, which resulted in the dismissal of claims brought by the plaintiff against The City of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Underlying Claim

The lawsuit, originally brought against Lewis Brisbois’ clients, The City of New York, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Delta Air Lines, stemmed from an alleged September 2017 incident within a cargo building at John F. Kennedy Airport in which a cargo agent employed by a cargo handling subcontractor of the airline client claimed he slipped and fell while attempting to lift a wooden skid in the course of his duties. The plaintiff alleged that, as a result of the incident, he suffered significant injuries necessitating shoulder, neck and back surgeries, and other substantial treatment.

The Lawsuit

In March of 2018, the plaintiff brought suit in Supreme Court, Queens County, against Lewis Brisbois’ clients, The City of New York, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Delta Air Lines, alleging that the defendants failed to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and that the plaintiff was caused to slip and fall within the premises as a result of water on the floor of the cargo facility.

The Trial

With only Lewis Brisbois’ client Delta Air Lines remaining in the matter, the plaintiff took the matter to trial in Supreme Court, Queens County in a bifurcated trial. Following the liability phase of the trial, the jury issued a unanimous defense verdict in less than 25 minutes, finding that the area of the warehouse floor in which the plaintiff’s incident allegedly occurred was kept in a reasonably clean and safe condition.

Substantial investigation and trial preparation by the Lewis Brisbois team, including expert consultations, resulted in the plaintiff being precluded from alleging any statutory or code violations at trial and in demonstrating through defense witness testimony a substantial likelihood that the plaintiff had fabricated the facts and circumstances of his alleged slip and fall incident altogether.

Additionally, the aviation litigation and trial team attorneys’ investigation and familiarity with the client’s cargo handling contractor’s operations resulted in the undermining of the plaintiff’s expert witness testimony as to liability, obtaining favorable testimony on cross-examination from fact witnesses called by the plaintiff that demonstrated that Delta Air Lines was in fact not responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the warehouse floor, and generally undermining the plaintiff’s claims regarding how his incident allegedly occurred.

Mr. McGannon is a member of the firm’s General Liability Team and New York City-based Trial Team, who has taken over 150 verdicts for the defense and plaintiff bars.

Mr. Keevins is a member of the Newark, NJ-based Aviation Litigation Team, with Douglas Amster, and is also a member of the firm’s General Liability Team, handling various New York State Labor Law, premises liability and auto/ transportation matters.