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backhoe at sunsetAs practitioners, we are often called upon to evaluate how a court might apply the law to a client’s fact patterns. In two tort cases from the past term, the Court of Appeals reminded us that legal principles often require us to analyze the totality of circumstances, rather than apply facile but ill-fitting and rigid tests. In Fasolas v. Bobcat of N.Y., 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 03657 (May 9, 2019), the Court considered whether the scope of strict liability for a design defect differs if the product at issue reaches its user via rental as opposed to a purchase. In Hinton v. Village of Pulaski, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 01261 (Feb. 21, 2019), the Court examined its decision in Woodson v. City of New York, 93 N.Y.2d 936 (1999), to review when a staircase might be considered a sidewalk when interpreting a municipality’s prior written notice statute.

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