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Luisi v. Marina Associates

July 24, 2007

MARY LUISI, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MARINA ASSOCIATES D/B/A HARRAH'S CASINO ATLANTIC CITY,*FN1 DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, L-2251-04.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 15, 2007

Before Judges Weissbard and Payne.

Plaintiff, Mary Luisi, appeals from a no-cause verdict entered in her slip-and-fall case following a jury trial. On appeal, Luisi focuses her arguments on a surveillance videotape taken at Harrah's Casino where she fell, which she claims shows that a floor buffing machine passed the area of the fall immediately before its occurrence, leaving the floor slick. Luisi, who admits to having consumed four to five alcoholic drinks on the day of her fall, claims that the fall was caused by the slick floor. The jury found otherwise.

During the course of the trial, the casino's videotape depicting Luisi's fall was shown to the jury multiple times, accompanied by Luisi's narration, given while standing next to the video monitor. After several replays of the video, the following exchange occurred:

Q: Okay. Is there anything you would like to utilize the tape for that you haven't already testified too? If not, you can go back to the witness stand.

THE COURT: Well, it's not the witness's choice, Mr. Perl. It's your choice, Is there anything more that you want to show on that tape or are we finished with it?

THE WITNESS: No, we can continue.

BY MR. PERL:

Q: Well, is there anything that you feel is relevant in this tape that you would like --

THE COURT: We're not interested in what the witness feels is relevant in the tape, Mr. Perl. If you want to play more of it, please do so without comment.

Following this exchange, Luisi continued her narration of the videotape, and then resumed her seat on the witness stand.

On appeal, Luisi claims that the court's comments "although ostensibly not intended to prejudice plaintiff and certainly subject to different interpretations, nevertheless had the clear capacity to unduly prejudice the ...


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