What Is the Permissible Inference of Negligence Under the Res Ipsa Loquitur Doctrine Based on ?
In Wen-Yu Chang v. Woolworth Co. (196 AD2d 708), an action was brought for a 3 1/2-year-old girl injured when the infant was a passenger on an escalator operated by the defendant retailer inside its retail premises and maintained by another defendant under a service contract.
The infant there sustained injury to her right leg when it became wedged between the moving stairs and the side panel.
The trial court denied the plaintiffs' request to charge the jury on res ipsa loquitur.
The Appellate Division unanimously set aside the jury verdict in favor of the defense and remanded the matter for a new trial.
he Chang Court found that exclusivity of control is "a relative term, not an absolute," because the permissible inference of negligence under the res ipsa loquitur doctrine is grounded on the remoteness of any probability that the negligent act was caused by someone other than the defendant.