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In this action to recover for the death of plaintiff's intestate who was found dead at the foot of a flight of stairs in premises owned by the defendants, it was error to admit in evidence a hospital record containing the report of a police officer based upon hearsay information obtained by him after the accident. There is no causal connection shown between accident and absence of light.
Tenants in an apartment heard the deceased on the stairs and in a hallway. They heard a thud and found the deceased at the foot of the stairs. No one saw him fall. The administratrix of the estate of the deceased filed an action against the owners of the building alleging negligence in their failure to keep a light on in the stairwell in violation of 1923 N.Y. Laws 796. A jury found in favor of the building owners and the trial court granted the administratrix' motion for a new trial. The building owners sought review.
Did the trial court properly grant the administratrix’ motion for a new trial?
On appeal, the court held that the administratrix failed to show a causal connection between the death and the absence of light. There was nothing to show that the accident occurred in the use of the stairs in the ordinary manner. In the absence of such proof, there were many possible conjectures for the accident. The motion for new trial should properly have been denied.