Giles v. City of New Haven
228 Conn. 441, 636 A.2d 1335 (1994)
Giles was an elevator operator
who was injured in an elevator mishap. She sued Otis Elevator for failing
to inspect, maintain, and repair the elevator properly.
There was no direct evidence
against Otis, but Giles argued that since the accident occurred, Otis
must have done something wrong.
That's known as res ipsa
Otis argued that the Giles
must have been partially negligent for the accident to have occurred as
it did, since she was the one who was operating the elevator.
Generally, in order to
support a finding of res ipsa loquitur, a plaintiff has to show that the defendant was in control of
the "instrumentality of harm" (aka the elevator), and that the
injured person was not partially responsible for the accident.
The Trial Court found for
Giles. Otis appealed.
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court found
that there was sufficient evidence under the doctrine of res ipsa
Traditionally, res ipsa
loquitur requires three things:
The accident would not have
occurred unless someone was negligent.
The thing causing the
accident was under the exclusive control of Otis.
Giles did not contribute to
the harm via her own negligence.
Otis unsuccessfully argued
that the last two requirements were not met.
The accident involved the
sway of the elevator chain, which is affected by how the elevator is
The Connecticut Supreme Court
The Connecticut Supreme
Court felt that just because a person uses the instrumentality of harm
(the elevator), that doesn't automatically preclude a finding of res