Mezrow Suffers Third Mistrial in Two-Year Period
DiVito ordered Mezrow to reimburse attorney fees and court costs to the defense within 10 days.
Pansini, who was also co-counsel in that case, filed a motion for reconsideration and a cross-motion for attorney fees and costs Dec. 2, 2011, calling the defense's allegations "fallacious and disingenuous."
In Antonson, according to the defense's motion for mistrial, plaintiff Laura Antonson alleged she suffered a traumatic brain injury when she tripped on an uneven portion of sidewalk outside a rehabilitation facility.
The defense alleged in the motion for mistrial that the defendants' corporate designee, Suzanne Basile, testified in her pretrial deposition that she had taken cellphone photographs of the sidewalk while it was undergoing repairs two years after—and unrelated to—Antonson's alleged injury.
Following that deposition, according to the motion for mistrial, DiVito barred admission of all evidence pertaining to remedial repairs performed after Antonson's alleged injury.
On Nov. 18, 2011, the fourth day of trial, according to the motion, Mezrow asked Basile during cross-examination whether she had ever taken any photographs of the area of sidewalk where Antonson allegedly fell.
Defense counsel, Jane North of Deasey, Mahoney, Valentini & North in Philadelphia, immediately asked for a sidebar and objected to that line of questioning, arguing that the only photographs Basile ever took of the sidewalk were taken during subsequent remedial repairs, according to the motion.
Mezrow told DiVito that his questions went to the issue of spoliation of evidence and that he would not mention the inadmissable remedial repairs. DiVito allowed Mezrow to continue questioning Basile about the photographs, according to the motion.
According to the motion, Mezrow had "knowingly failed to inform the court that the photographs were of the subsequent construction" he had previously agreed during sidebar not to mention in his cross-examination.
According to the motion, Basile was forced to admit that she had taken photographs of the sidewalk and that they were most likely contained on an old cellphone she no longer had in her possession.