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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fighter Who Fell in Elevator Shaft Can’t Sue

NEW YORK CITY (CN) - A man who fell down an elevator shaft while fighting cannot collect damages from the building owner, a New York appeals court ruled.

Mohammad Fofana was battling a rival in the bootleg CD and DVD business when they hit a closed elevator door. The door opened and the men fell into the elevator shaft.

The fight began when Fofana brought in a pair of customers from the street. When his boss' door was locked, he went to look for the boss.

When Fofana returned, he found his customers in the office doing business with Robert Haynes, who physically stopped Fofana from entering the office. That's when the fight broke out.

A trial court ruled in favor of Fofana, claiming the building owners did not file a motion for summary judgment on time.

The justices of the New York First Appellate Division reversed the decision, ruling that the business owners had a reasonable belief that when Haynes sued and lost in 2007, that Fofana's lawsuit was precluded by the decision.

"Defendants' averment that they had good cause not to file a motion for summary judgment contemporaneously with the motion to dismiss is valid," the appeals court wrote. "The disposition of the Haynes summary judgment motion provided sufficient grounds either to invoke collateral estoppel or to dismiss the Fofana case."

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