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Plaintiff Sues For Slip and Fall in Parking Lot, Defendant’s Summary Judgement Motion Denied by NY Appellate Court


One rainy day in December 2007 at around 6am, a woman drove into the parking lot to go and buy breakfast at a deli. It had rained overnight and it was still dark, the parking lot was not brightly lit. The woman got off of her car and started walking toward the brightly lit deli. About four paces away from her car as she was going toward the deli, the woman had a slip and fall on the parking lot. She tried to get up but she was unable to get up because the parking lot was so slippery. Her clothes got thoroughly soaked as she struggled to get up. Luckily someone from inside the deli saw her and ran out to help her.

The premises were owned by a corporation which let it out to the deli and a women’s fitness gym. The woman sued the owner of the premises, the deli and the fitness center.

A New York Injury Lawyer said the women’s fitness center and the deli owner both filed motions for summary judgment asking that the complaint against them be dismissed as they were mere tenants renting the premises. They are not responsible for maintaining the parking lot as this was not in their contract. It was the building owner who was contractually bound to maintain the parking lot.

The owner of the premises also filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that the woman was unable to identify what caused her to slip and fall in the parking lot.

All the parties sued by the woman were deposed and they testified to certain facts in common: that the parking lot filled with water when it rained hard. A Suffolk County Personal Injury Lawyer said the owner of the deli contacted a company to remove the snow that accumulated in the parking lot. The cost for the removal of snow was to be split equally between the deli owner, the fitness center owner and the owner of the premises. They also agreed to have the drain cleaned out so that snow and water would not accumulate in the parking lot. There have been no complaints prior to the woman’s accident of accumulation of ice and snow causing anyone to slip and fall. They also testified that they spread salt on the parking lot.

The only question before the Court was whether or not the motion for summary judgment should be granted.

The Court ruled that the owner of the premises had the burden to show that he was entitled to the summary judgment. He must show that: he did not create the dangerous condition that caused the woman to slip and fall; or that he had no actual or constructive notice of the existence of the dangerous condition.

The owner of the premises was unable to show that there was adequate lighting in the parking lot. The owner of the premises failed to show that it had no notice of a defective or dangerous condition in the parking lot.

On the other hand, the woman was able to sufficiently prove by her testimony on deposition that she slipped on ice and water. A Westchester County Personal Injury Lawyer said she testified that she got soaked in the water on the parking lot when she fell. She also testified that she was unable to get up from the parking lot as she kept slipping and falling back.

There are material issues of fact that must be tried: whether there was adequate lighting in the parking lot; whether anyone inspected the parking lot; whether anyone spread salt or sand on the ground before the lady’s accident.

For these reasons, the summary judgment motion cannot be granted. The case was remanded for trial.

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