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Woman Sues Building Owner for Slip and Fall Injury, New York Appellate Court Denies Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgement


Cases of personal injury involve certain subtleties of the law that must be met in order for the complainant to have a case against the building or facility where the injury occurred. First of all, there must be an injury. A New York Injury Lawyer said if a complainant files a complaint against a company because they fell, they must show that they were injured in some way by that fall. They must also be able to show that the building owner or manager had prior knowledge that a hazardous situation existed at that location at a time prior to the accident for them to have taken steps to prevent the accident from happening. In most cases, some evidence that there was a defect or hazardous situation that most of the people who used that area were aware of and that they had complained to the building management about usually proves this portion of the law. That proof is provided by the complainant in most cases in the form of incident reports, memos, emails, or other evidence that may show that the hazard was there and that the property management knew that it was there, but had not taken steps to repair it.

In one case, which occurred at 200 Park Avenue in Manhattan, one of the janitors was responsible for mopping the floor of the lobby where a woman slipped on some spilled liquid on the floor of the lobby (skip and fall). She was injured and treated. She then filed suit against the building management because she claims that they were liable for the situation. She claimed that the floor cleaning rotation was not notated in reference to how often or even when the lobby would be checked for spills or other debris. Since there was no one responsible for checking the floors, she contends that her accident was the responsibility of the building maintenance department.

The building management filed a motion in Queens County Civil Court for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint and all other claims against them in this case because they felt that the complainant had not made a case that they had been notified of a problem prior to the accident. The Civil Court denied their motion and they filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of New York, Second Department. A Manhattan Personal Injury Lawyer said the appeal was reviewed, and decided on February 28, 2007. The Supreme Court determined that the building management had failed to show that they should get a summary judgment on the case since there were no records presented that demonstrated a process by which the lobby floor was checked or monitored for hazardous situations. The Supreme Court clearly felt that this was a triable issue of fact in that they upheld the decision of the Civil Court and denied the summary motion request of the property management.

One justice disagreed with the decision. He stated that his disagreement was based on the fact that the Supreme Court by stating that the defendant property owner had failed to show that they had a process to ensure the safety of floor was not relevant. A Nassau County Personal Injury Lawyer said he maintains that by putting the burden of proof on the defendant, the court has erred in its judgment. He stated that it is the basic ground of the American Justice system to demand that a person making a complaint prove their case and that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. He felt that in this case, the Supreme Court was requiring that the defendant who is assumed innocent by law until proven otherwise was being forced to prove that he was not guilty. The contention is interesting by any means in that this dissenting justice certainly has a point. However, in this case, there were no other justices who agreed with him and the decision stands.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates has New York Personal Injury Lawyers in throughout New York and Metropolitan area. If you received, 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.

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