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Reyes v. Medina Loveras, LLC

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 18, 2017

STEPHANIE REYES
v.
MEDINA LOVERAS, LLC

          Argued April 10, 2017

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, Lee, J.)

          Maxwell W. Barrand, for the appellant (plaintiff).

          Cynthia A. Watts, for the appellee (defendant).

          Lavine, Keller and Pellegrino, Js.

         Syllabus

         The plaintiff sought to recover damages from the defendant, M Co., for alleged negligence when she was in the men's bathroom on M Co.'s premises and the bathroom sink collapsed, causing her to fall and land upon the shattered pieces of the sink and sustain injuries to her buttock. At trial, it was contested whether at the time the sink collapsed, the plaintiff was standing at the sink taking a picture of herself or attempting to urinate in the sink. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict finding the plaintiff 90 percent liable and the defendant 10 percent liable, and the trial court rendered judgment for the defendant, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. The plaintiff claimed that the trial court improperly admitted into evidence a photograph of the plaintiff's uninjured buttock because it was irrelevant, and a certain portion of her hospital emergency room records stating that she was trying to urinate into the sink because it was inadmissible hearsay.

         Held:

1. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence the photograph of the plaintiff's uninjured buttock; photographs of the plaintiff's injury and subsequent scarring were also admitted into evidence, and the photograph of the uninjured buttock therefore was relevant to helping the jury compare the two buttocks.
2. The trial court properly admitted into evidence the portion of the plaintiff's hospital records stating that she was trying to urinate into the sink as a statement by a party opponent, an exception to the rule barring hearsay, because there was credited testimony by the hospital physician who prepared the challenged report attributing the statement to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff admitted to having told hospital staff how the accident occurred; alternatively, the statement was also admissible under the hospital records exception to the hearsay rule, because it was part of the plaintiff's medical history in the emergency room report used to check for any injuries that may initially have been missed by the treating physician due to the nature of the accident, and thus the statement was pertinent to the plaintiff's diagnosis and treatment.

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained as a result of the defendant's alleged negligence, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, where the court, Lee, J., denied in part the plaintiff's request for leave to amend the complaint; thereafter, the matter was tried to the jury; verdict and judgment for the defendant, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          OPINION

          PELLEGRINO, J.

         The plaintiff, Stephanie Reyes, appeals from the judgment, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendant, Medina Loveras, LLC. The plaintiff claimed that she sustained serious physical injuries when a bathroom sink on the defendant's premises collapsed beneath her. The plaintiff claims on appeal that the trial court improperly admitted into evidence (1) a photograph of the plaintiff's ...


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