FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 24, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 33
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Q: I was working as a tractor-trailer driver for a transportation company,
transporting bread products among a bakery’s facilities. The bakery’s employees
would place the bread on interlocking plastic trays, stack the trays 15-high on
wheeled dollies, and load them onto our trailers. One day, I picked up a trailer of
bread. Upon arriving at my destination, I opened the trailer door, removed the
bar holding the dollies in place, and began unloading. All of a sudden, from the
rack I was pulling, several trays fell and struck me.
Unlike trays that are held secure by a metal rod, these ones did not truly
interlock with one another. The photos even show mismatched trays, of different
colors – trays from different manufacturers with slightly different physical
characteristics and dimensions, which would cause them not to nest properly
within one another. All in all, I think that the trays had been improperly stacked
by the bakery’s employees, so the trays were unstable. I have heard that other
drivers had complained to the bakery about how the trays were stacked.
A: You appear to have a strong case both (a) that the bakery’s employees
created the hazardous condition that caused your accident and (b) that the bakery
had notice of a recurrent, dangerous condition with respect to the bread trays.
Even if you cannot identify exactly what caused the trays to fall, that should not
matter. Proximate cause may be inferred from the facts and circumstances. You
are not required to exclude every other possible cause, but need only offer evidence
from which proximate cause may be reasonably inferred. From what you tell me,
it fairly appears that the bread trays fell from the dolly because the stack was
unstable, and that the bakery is at fault. is
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