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Juliano v. Grand Hyatt New York, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 27, 2018

LINDA JULIANO, Plaintiff,
v.
GRAND HYATT NEW YORK, INC., and EDWARD NIETO d/b/a AV GROUP, Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Linda Juliano (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint in this Court on June 29, 2017, alleging that Defendant Grand Hyatt New York, Inc., and Edward Nieto d/b/a/ AV Group (together, “Defendants”) negligently failed to maintain safe premises at the Grand Hyatt ballroom and that such negligence caused her compensable injuries. Compl. at 1-2, ECF No. 1. AV Group has moved to dismiss. ECF No. 18. Since then, Ms. Juliano has voluntarily dismissed AV Group from the case under Federal Rule 41(a). Notice of Dismissal, ECF No. 36. In addition, Grand Hyatt has filed a motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 35.

         For the following reasons, Grand Hyatt's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         On July 5, 2014, the Grand Hyatt, located at 109 East 42nd Street, in New York, New York, hosted a dance competition and banquet. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 7-8. Ms. Juliano alleges that she was at the competition and banquet, and when it was her turn “to appear on stage to address the audience, she got up from her chair and approached the stage.” Id. ¶ 10. She alleges that her right foot got caught under an audio-visual equipment wire, and that she fell forward onto her hands and knees. Id. Ms. Juliano alleges that Grand Hyatt's normal practice is to tape down the wires to the floor, but on the day at issue, it failed to do so. Id. ¶ 9.

         Ms. Juliano alleges that the fall injured her right knee. Id. ¶ 11. Specifically, the injury consisted of a large hematoma, a medial meniscal tear, a stress insufficiency fracture of the medial femoral condyle, and synovitis. Id. Ms. Juliano claims that the injury required surgery, extended medical treatment, and physical therapy. Id. Ms. Juliano also claims she suffered from excruciating pain that restricted her ability to work and to conduct her typical activities. Id. ¶ 12. Ms. Juliano claims that, as a result of the injury, she now has a disability accompanied by daily pain and discomfort. Id.

         B. Procedural History

         Ms. Juliano filed a Complaint on June 29, 2017, against Grand Hyatt and Edward Nieto d/b/a/ AV Group. Compl. ¶¶ 2-4. Ms. Juliano claimed that Grand Hyatt acted negligently by failing to provide reasonably safe facilities in its reception room / ballroom (Count One). Compl. at 4. She also claimed that Grand Hyatt was grossly negligent in failing to provide reasonably safe facilities, as they acted with a wanton, willful, and reckless disregard for the safety of its guests (Count Two). Id. at 5-6.

         Ms. Juliano also claimed that AV Group, a “professional audio and visual company that provides services and equipment for dance competitions, entertainment and corporate events, ” acted negligently by failing to “leave the premises in a reasonably safe condition after installing his electronic and electronic and electrical equipment” in the ballroom and reception area (Count Three). Id. at 2, 6.

         Ms. Juliano sought $500, 000.00 in damages, along with any punitive damages proven at trial. Id. at 7.

         On July 31, 2017, Grand Hyatt filed an Answer with affirmative defenses, including that this Court does not have personal jurisdiction over Grand Hyatt. Answer at 5-8, ECF No. 13.

         Grand Hyatt also asserted two cross-claims against AV Group. First, Grand Hyatt claimed that it had the right to recover from AV Group for all of any verdict against it on the basis of contractual and/or common-law indemnification. Id. at 8. Second, Grand Hyatt claimed that it is entitled to contribution on the basis of apportionment from AV Group. Id.

         On August 4, 2017, Grand Hyatt filed a third-party Complaint against Sheer Talent Ltd. ECF No. 14.

         On August 18, 2017, AV Group filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), (3), and (5). Mot. Dismiss at 1.

         On November 21, 2017, Ms. Juliano filed a notice of voluntary dismissal under Federal Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) as to only AV Group. Notice of Dismissal. Ms. Juliano asserted that dismissal was proper because AV Group had not filed an Answer or a motion for summary judgment. Id. AV Group was terminated on November 21, 2017.

         II. ...


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