In Reece v. City of N.Y., the court considered the question of what the plaintiff must show to prove that a defendant had sufficient notice of a hazard to be liable for injuries caused by the presence of that hazard.
As Reece, the plaintiff, stepped on the curb at the corner of Water and Wall Streets in Manhattan, she slipped and fell on a blob of grease and suffered an injury. Alliance, a not-for-profit business improvement district organization, was responsible for cleaning the sidewalk at the location of the accident. Alliance contracted the cleaning to Onesource. Reece filed a personal injury claim against Alliance, Onesource, and the City of New York.
The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment asking that the complaint against all of them be dismissed. Under New York law, the burden is on the defendant to prove that they are entitled to summary judgement. This means that the defendant must make a prima facie showing that it did not cause the dangerous condition that led to the plaintiff’s injuries, and that it did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. If the defendant does not make a prima facie showing then the court will deny its motion for summary judgement dismal of the case.