Judge agrees with defense argument and dismisses plaintiff’s complaint


ROXANA ISABEL UMANA as Parent and Natural Guardian of ARNALDO ALAXANDER UMANA an infant under the age of 18, Plaintiff, v. WGW, LLC, a New York State Limited Liability Company, WIDOW GONE WILD, LLC, authorized to do business under the assumed name WGW, DIANE GOTTLIEB AND SHEENA LEPEZ, JOSEPH BRUNO, Individually and doing business as JOE BRUNO’S FLOOR COVERING, Defendants.

In this case, the infant plaintiff sustained injuries when a pot of boiling beans fell from a stove, covering him and resulting in second and third degree burns.  Plaintiff commenced this action against the property owner (WGW, LLC and Diane Gottlieb) and property manager (Sheena Lepez) and the carpet installer (Joseph Bruno individually and doing business as Joe Bruno’s Floor Covering).  Plaintiff’s claim was that the stove in her small apartment had been unsteady since she took occupancy and that the stove became more unsteady when Mr. Bruno installed carpet in the apartment, and specifically under the front two feet of the stove.

Our firm filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the Bruno defendants.  It was our contention that (1) plaintiff had filed the action against the incorrect party, (2) Mr. Bruno’s individual liability was limited as the member of a corporation and (3) the Bruno defendants were not negligent because (a) it did not owe a duty to the plaintiff and (b) it did not breach a duty to the plaintiff. 

On the first and second point, Joseph Bruno had incorporated his floor covering business in 2007, three years before his work at the apartment, and had only performed work as the corporation from that point forward. 

On the third point, the evidence established that Bruno had no contractual relationship with the plaintiff.  Further, it was our contention that the work of Bruno did not cause the stove to be more unstable.  In support of this contention, we offered the affidavit of an engineering expert who concluded that the true cause of the accident was another child in the apartment falling on the oven door causing the stove to tip forward as it was not equipped with an anti-tip device.

In a written decision by Judge Henry Zwack of Ulster County, the Court issued a scathing decision against plaintiff adopting each of our arguments and citing to the case law that was offered by our office in support of the motion.  The Court dismissed all claims and cross-claims against Bruno.