Published on:

Plaintiff Brings Action for Slip and Fall in Laundry Room, Due to Lack of Evidence Court Finds for Defendant


In cases that involve a personal injury complaint, it is imperative that the person who is filing the complaint is able to show that the injury occurred as the result of a negligence on the part of the property owner or manager where the incident occurred. A New York Injury Lawyer said the victim cannot show that the injury was the result of some type of negligence, then there is no case to take to trial. In most cases, the defendant who is the owner or manager of the property will request a summary judgment. A summary judgment is one that is made by the court in favor of one party or the other.

A summary judgment is given by the court when one side can either show that the case has no legal basis to be continued or if the opposing party has failed to show the elements necessary to create a triable question of fact. In some cases, both sides may request summary judgments for different reasons against the other. Whenever a party requests a summary judgment, the Supreme Court of the State of New York is responsible for determining if a summary judgment is reasonable under the circumstances.

An example of a request for a summary judgment may be shown in several cases; however, there is one case from Hempstead, New York that is an excellent example. On September 28, 2008, a tenant of the apartment building located at 67 Terrace Avenue stated that she entered the laundry room in her building to do her laundry. The laundry room is located on the same floor as her apartment and she uses it on a regular basis. She stated that as she was washing her clothes and moving them from the washer to the dryer, she slipped on soapy water (slip and fall) that was leaking from the overflow tube of one of the washing machines.

She stated that the washer had been leaking for some time and had not been repaired by the building management. As a result of her fall, she was taken for medical treatment for injuries to her arm, neck, and shoulders. A Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer said she filed suit alleging that her injury was caused by the negligence of the building management and owner because the tube had been leaking for several weeks and they had failed to repair it.

When she testified under oath at her deposition, she stated that she had not reported the leak herself before the incident. She was asked several times very specific questions in relationship to the accident. She was asked if she had seen any water on the floor the day before the accident and she stated that she had not. She was asked if she had ever spoken to any of the maintenance personnel and she had not. She was asked if she knew any of their names and she stated that she did not. She was asked if she saw any water on the floor before she fell on the date of her accident and she stated that she did not. There was a ten-minute break in the deposition, when she returned from the break she stated that she had told one of the maintenance men the week before the accident about water on the floor and that she said is name was Chico or Fernando.

The discrepancy in testimony after the break from before it was evident to both sides. The attorney for the building owner stated that he thought that her counsel had coached the woman during the break. She stated that she had not been coached and that she resented the implication. The defendants then made a motion for a summary judgment against the woman because they felt that she had not proven that the building maintenance or manager had ever been advised of a problem with the tubing in the laundry room. If they were not advised of the problem then they could not possibly have been aware that a problem existed and it would not be a case of negligence on their part. They requested summary judgment dismissing the complaint in its entirety.

In support of their motion for summary judgment, the defendant building owner brought forth statements from his building management stating that they had no knowledge of any problem in that laundry room prior to the accident. The building manager himself stated that it was his job to walk the property several times a day to make sure that anything that was in need of repair was fixed in a timely manner. He advised that he had personally been in that laundry room and observed other tenants doing their laundry there with no problems and no complaints of a leaking tubing.

The building maintenance crew each filed statements that they had never been informed of a problem with the tubing in the laundry room on that floor. A Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer said they advised that a log is maintained of all complaints that come in to the maintenance department in regards to repairs. They produced the log as evidence that a complaint had not come in regarding the tube in that laundry room prior to the date that the tenant fell and was injured.

In response to these sworn statements and logged documentation, the complainant tenant only produced a statement from her own attorney that she was testifying to the truth. This creates further problems with her credibility in that she is not attempting to bring in any evidence that would show that the building managers either knew or should have known that a hazardous situation existed in the laundry room and that they intentionally failed to act to correct it, which would be an act of negligence on their parts.

The Supreme Court reviewed the situation and stated that although the credibility of a witness is not usually a situation to be decided at their level, the questions that this particular witness’ testimony has created certainly show that there is not a triable issue of fact. She failed to show in any meaning full manner that the department management staff had ever been notified that the tube was leaking. She also failed to identify with any legitimacy the source of the leak. If there was no water on the floor when she arrived in the laundry room as she stated before the break in the deposition, then it is possible that the water on the floor came from her wet clothing being placed in a dryer and not from a leaky tube at all. If in fact, the water on the floor was caused by the complainant just moments before her fall, there is no way that the defendants could have or should have been able to deduce that she would spill water on the floor in that instant and then slip in it.

If the situation is as the complainant states that the water leaked out of the tube when the washing machine was draining, before she removed her clothing from it, there is still no way that the management could have known about the problem unless they had been informed. In this case the complainant did not put forth any evidence that the management company had ever been informed. It is because of this lack of proof of negligence that the Supreme Court granted the summary judgment for the building owner dismissing the case in its entirety.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, there are New York Personal Injury Lawyers in convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Suffering from a personal injury due to the negligence of others is not necessary. New York slip and fall Attorneys can provide you the support that you need.

Contact Information