Napolitano v. Compania Sud Americana de Vapores

421 F.2d 382 (1970)

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Napolitano v. Compania Sud Americana de Vapores

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
421 F.2d 382 (1970)

Facts

Napolitano (plaintiff) was injured in two separate accidents while working on ships owned by Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (the shipowner) (defendant). Napolitano filed two separate lawsuits against the shipowner, seeking damages for his injuries. Jury trials in both lawsuits occurred one week apart before the same trial judge. In the first trial, which lasted less than two hours and ended at 12:20 p.m., the shipowner’s attorneys notified the trial judge that a defense medical witness would not be available to testify until 2:00 p.m. and sought a brief recess in order to allow the testimony. The trial judge denied the request, depriving the shipowner from introducing testimony from a medical witness. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Napolitano. In the second case, the shipowner was disallowed from presenting testimony from several witnesses due to their attorney’s failure to disclose the witnesses to Napolitano’s attorney until five days before trial even though the case had pending for several years. Additionally, the trial judge made sarcastic comments and exhibited displeasure with the shipowner’s attorney during the trial in front of the jury. The jury again returned a verdict in favor of Napolitano. The shipowner appealed from both verdicts, and the cases were consolidated into one appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Waterman, J.)

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