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Defendant Wins Summary Judgment in New York Appellate Court for Slip and Fall Case


At around 7:00 to 8:00 pm on September 11, 2002, a lady was walking on the sidewalk of Second Avenue to meet a friend at a yogurt shop. When she reached the part of the sidewalk halfway between East 46th and East 47th Streets, her foot turned and twisted to the left and then to the right. She lost her footing and her balance and she fell on the sidewalk.

That part of the sidewalk where she fell abuts a building named after a former Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization. The building was managed by a subsidiary of the corporation that owned the building. The woman sued the City of New York, the building owner and the building manager.

According to a New York Injury Lawyer, the City of New York, the building owner and the building manager all filed motions for summary judgment asking that the complaint be dismissed. The building owner and manager argued that the complaint should be dismissed because the lady could not say what caused her to trip and fall; that it had no duty to maintain the sidewalk as it derived no special use of the sidewalk; it did not create the defect of dangerous condition on the sidewalk. The City of New York argued that the defect that the lady alleged to have caused her accident is too trivial to be actionable; and even if it were not too trivial, the City never caused or created the defect and the defect was not proven to be the immediate cause of her trip and fall.

The Court looked at the deposition testimony and noted that the lady really testified that she had no idea what caused her to trip and fall. All she remembers is that she put her foot down, her foot wobbled and she lost her balance and fell. The lawyer cross-examining her on deposition asked her if she felt her foot hit something or if her foot got wedged in a crack or if she tripped on a raised sidewalk flag. But the lady consistently answered that she could not account for any reason why she would fall. She said that she never saw what caused her to fall before she fell and she did not go back to the sidewalk until a month after her accident and she saw that the sidewalk was still as cracked and uneven as on the day she had an accident but she could not pinpoint where she fell or what caused her to fall.

A Nassau County Personal Injury Lawyer, the Court noted that during her deposition identified cracks, raised and holes in the sidewalk from a photograph she had taken of the sidewalk. She announced that these were examples of the cracks that she saw on the sidewalk on the day she came back which was about one month after her accident. But, even when pressed and prodded, she was unable to pinpoint which crack or uneven sidewalk flag caused her to trip and fall.

The Court noted that the cracks may not be trivial as some of the cracks were deep, but without any evidence as to which of the many cracks or uneven sidewalk flags caused the lady’s trip and fall, all proceedings would be based on surmises and suppositions and not on facts. Therefore, the Court resolved to grant the motions for summary judgment and dismiss the complaint for failure of the complainant to identify the cause of her trip and fall.

A Queens Personal Injury Lawyer said that the lady in this case wasted precious time and money filing a lawsuit for damages for a trip and fall that she could not prove. Perhaps you have also tripped and fallen. You sustained injuries and you want to sue. Do you have a case? You need to meet with an attorney who can evaluate the facts of what happened to you to see if you do have a viable cause of action in court for damages. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, they have well-trained lawyers who are experienced in building cases and gathering evidence you will need to pursue your claim. Do not sleep on your rights and do not bring a suit that is not well-researched or well-presented. Confer with Stephen Bilkis and Associates who can evaluate your case and inform you of your rights. Do not delay; contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates today at any of their offices conveniently located around the New York area.

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