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Handel v. New York Rapid Transit Corp.

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Second Department
252 App.Div. 142 (1937)


Facts

Handel was seriously injured when he fell from a train car, became caught in the car door, and was dragged along the tracks on the New York Rapid Transit Corp.’s (NYRTC) (defendant) elevated railroad. He eventually died as a result of his injuries. Handel’s estate (plaintiff) sued NYRTC for negligence, alleging in its complaint that the conductor of the train closed the car door on Handel, which caused him to fall from the train and eventually led to his death. The only proof of this claim was a declaration Handel made to a witness minutes after being gravely injured in the accident. If permitted, the witness would have testified that Handel said, “Save me. Help me. Why did that conductor close the door on me?” The trial court excluded Handel’s statement as hearsay, and dismissed the complaint because it lacked any proof of NYRTC’s negligence. Handel’s estate appealed on the basis that the evidence was wrongly excluded.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Taylor, J.)

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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Close, J.)

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