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New York Appellate Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgement for Defendant in Slip and Fall Case


A woman lived in a high-rise apartment building that was built in 1951. The apartment building was managed by a management corporation.

Sometime on April 28, 2004, the lady was throwing down her garbage into the garbage chute inside the trash closet of her floor. The rule in the building was that tenants should make sure that all their trash be pushed down the chute while all recyclables should be brought down to the basement. On that day, the woman went inside the trash closet and saw a garbage bag that contained aluminum beer cans and soap containers. A New York Injury Lawyer said that as she entered the trash closet, she had a slip and fall. When she got up, she looked at the place where she had her slip and fall and saw that a sticky and slippery substance was on the floor next to the garbage bag containing the recyclables.

The woman testified in her deposition. She said that in the trash closet, there was a sign that tells the tenants not to leave their recyclables in the trash closet and instead, to bring it directly down to the basement. She also testified that before her accident, she did not complain about garbage being left in the trash closet or that the floor was ever slippery or sticky.

The porter of the building also testified. He said that it was his responsibility to clean the trash closet. He said that he inspected the trash closet three times daily to make sure that all the trash is pushed down the chute. He also swept and mopped the trash closet when he inspected it. A Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said he never received complaints about the floor being slippery and sticky. He also testified that twenty-four hours prior to the accident, the trash closet was sealed shut due to extermination. When the extermination was through, the porter unsealed the trash closet himself and checked to see that it was clean and dry.

The woman filed a suit in damages for injuries sustained in her slip and fall. She claimed that the trash chute did not conform to the Building Code. It is her theory that since the building did not comply with the Building Code, the building owner and the building manager had constructive notice that the trash chute was a dangerous condition that they did not remedy.

The building owner and the building manager both filed motions for summary procedure asking that the complaint against them be dismissed.

The only question before the court was whether or not the complaint should be dismissed as no preliminary evidence was given that the building owner and the building manager are liable for the personal injury sustained by the woman.

The Court first ruled that since the building was erected in 1951, it cannot be made to conform to the Building Code which was only enacted in 1967. A Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said the Court also ruled that the issue of violations of the Building Code need not be ruled upon to determine whether or not the building owner and building manager are liable for the the personal injury sustained by the woman.

The Court ruled that there is no evidence presented that the building owner or the building manager created the dangerous condition. Rather, there is evidence that the building owner and manager put up signs to show that they did not allow trash to be stored or placed in the trash closet. There is also evidence that the trash closet was regularly inspected and cleaned, at least three times daily. The strongest evidence for the defendant building owner and building manager is that the trash closet was closed for 24 hours prior to the accident for cleaning and it was clean and dry immediately before the accident of the woman. This negates any notice on the part of the building owner and building manager regarding any dangerous condition.

Are you like the woman in this case? Did you also sustain injury due to a slip and fall? Are you wondering if you have a viable cause of action? You need the advice and assistance of a New York Personal Injury Lawyer. A New York City Personal Injury lawyer from Stephen Bilkis and Associates can assess the facts of your case and render an opinion as to the viability of a cause of action for damages. You need the services of a NYC Personal Injury lawyer who can research and present evidence on your behalf. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today and speak to any of their NY Personal Injury attorneys.

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