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Court Discusses Liability Issues for Slip and Fall n City Sidewalk

The Housing Authority entered into a contract with a general contractor to improve the grounds of a housing projects owned by the City of New York. The general contractor entered into a subcontract with a company that performs concrete work. The grounds of the housing project abutted a sidewalk.

On March 21, 2006 an elderly woman and her husband were walking on the sidewalk around the housing project. The husband was assisted by a healthcare attendant. As they were walking, the elderly woman’s right foot got stuck in a deep indentation in the concrete sidewalk. This hole in the sidewalk caused her to slip and fallon her knees. When the elderly lady got up, she saw the hole for the first time and described it to be about five inches long, ten inches wide and three inches deep.

The woman sued the City of New York and the Housing Authority. These two defendants sued the general contractor and the sub-contractor whose job was to work on the concrete grounds in and around the housing project.

A New York Injury Lawyer said the husband of the elderly lady and his healthcare attendant both testified during a deposition and both of them affirmed the slip and fall suffered by the elderly lady. The only discrepancy raised by these two deponents was the size of the hole in the concrete sidewalk; and whether or not that hole had been there in the sidewalk prior to the elderly lady’s slip and fall accident.

The Housing Authority filed a motion for summary judgment asking that the complaint against it be dismissed on the ground that the elderly lady failed to establish the cause of her slip and fall. A Queens Personal Injury Lawyer said they also claimed that it cannot be held liable for damages caused by a trivial defect on a sidewalk.

The concrete company also filed a motion for summary judgment asking the dismissal of the complaint of the City of New York and the Housing Authority against it on the ground that it owes the elderly lady no duty of care as it is the Housing Authority that is liable for the maintenance of the sidewalk.

The general contractor also filed a motion for summary judgment asking the dismissal of the complaint of the City of New York and the Housing Authority against it on the ground that the damages for injuries sought by the elderly lady against the City of New York and the Housing Authority are not the result of their work; there is no allegation against it for negligence

The City of New York and the Housing Authority opposed the motions filed by the general contractor and the concrete subcontractor because they were specifically contracted to repair the concrete grounds around the housing project especially the area of the sidewalk.

The only question before the court is: whether or not these motions for summary judgment filed may be granted.

As for the motion for summary judgment filed by the City of New York and the Housing Authority, it must be denied as they did not discharge their burden of proving that there are no more material issues of fact that need to be tried. A Staten Island Personal Injury Lawyer said they also failed to prove that the defect on the sidewalk which caused the slip and fall of the elderly lady was trivial.

The motion of the general contractor is denied because the issue of whether or not the sidewalk was part of the repair job contracted by the general contractor is an issue of material fact that must be tried.

The concrete sub-contractor’s motion for summary judgment must be granted because it is based on its contract which the concrete subcontractor has not yet performed.

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