Family of Electrocuted Accident Victim Can't Prove Contractor Did Work or Even Existed Before Accident

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Case: Shortell v. County of Rockland

Date: June 20, 2012.

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens injury attorney)

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Facts: Michael Shortell died in July of 2005. At the time he was trying to pump flood water off of his property and was accidentally electrocuted.

He was survived by his wife and children, who brought a lawsuit against several contractors and companies that had done renovation work on the property, plus the County of Rockland, where their property was located.

One of the contractors sued -- P & R Electric -- claimed that it had nothing to do with the renovation work. In fact, it claimed not to have existed under that name at the time frame involved.

The lower Court denied P & R's motion for summary judgment seeking to have itself removed from this lawsuit on papers. This appeal of the lower court's decision was brought by P & R.

More Facts: Some of the defendants gave testimony at pre-trial depositions as to which companies had worked on the property. P & R was a company that one of the individual workers had thought about starting, but had not actually existed at the time. Confusing the matter was that this person, named "Jaime," actually had P & R business cards made up. He even may have given a card to Mrs. Shortell. But that was all.

Held: P & R did not exist at the time of the electrocution accident and, even if it did, it did no worker at the Shortell family's property. Summary judgment is granted and the complaint is dismissed against it.

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