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Schaer Successfully Reverses Jury Award and Obtains Defense Verdict

November 18, 2014

On November 18, 2014, Ted Schaer successfully obtained judgment non obstante verdict (“JNOV”) in a premises liability action brought in the Court of Common Pleas, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Following a three day trial in July 2014, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs, husband and wife, sought damages against the operators of a rock climbing gym for a severe ankle fracture with resulting surgeries and disability the plaintiff wife sustained when she jumped from one of the climbing walls at the facility. At the time of trial, Plaintiff “boarded” in excess of $700k in past and future damages. Defendant insurance carrier maintained a “no offer” posture throughout the litigation. The defense maintained, that no duty was owed to protect Plaintiff wife from her injury as it was a known, obvious, and inherent risk of rock climbing which she knowingly and voluntarily assumed. Plaintiffs had signed a Release and Assumption of the Risk Agreement which prevented Plaintiff from recovering unless gross negligence was shown. Prior to the trial the Judge refused to grant defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and trial ensued. At the close of the Plaintiff’s case in chief, Schaer filed a Motion for an Involuntary Non Suit and a Directed Verdict at the conclusion of the trial. Both trial motions were denied by the Court. Following the verdict, Mr. Schaer, with the assistance of associate, Katelyn Taylor Czarnik, filed a Motion for Post-Trial Relief, arguing that the Court erred in failing to grant both trial motions and that the jury’s finding of gross negligence was beyond the weight of the evidence. Mr. Schaer presented oral argument on the Motion for Post Trial Relief on October 17, 2014. On November 18, 2014, Defendants’ Motion for Post-Trial Relief was granted and judgment non obstante verdicto was entered vacating the jury’s award and entering judgment on behalf of the defendants.

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