Monday, July 3, 2017

A fall in the laundry room.

The Appellate Division reversed, and dismissed the complaint as against building owner-defendant in this action where plaintiff's decedent allegedly slipped and fell on a puddle of water in the laundry room of his apartment building. The decedent was deposed before he died. He testified that, as was his custom, on the day of the incident he went to the laundry room twice in the early morning hours. The first time, when he went to load some wet clothes into a dryer, he did not see any water on the floor. No one else was there, and no other machines were in use. He left without incident, and then returned to remove his clothes from the dryer. Again, no one else was there, and no machines were in use. The dryer had already come to a stop. He took his clothes from the dryer, and as he took one step away from the dryer,  he slipped and fell. After he fell, he saw, for the first time, that there was water on the floor.

Practice point:  In a slip-and-fall action, a defendant who moves for summary judgment has the initial burden of establishing, prima facie, that it neither created the alleged hazardous condition nor had [actual or constructive notice of its existence. To provide constructive notice, a defect must be visible and apparent and it must exist for a sufficient length of time prior to the accident to permit defendant's employees to discover and remedy it.

Here, the evidence submitted by the defendant in support of its motion, including the decedent's deposition testimony, was sufficient to establish, prima facie, that the defendant did not create the alleged hazardous condition or have actual or constructive notice of it. A general awareness that the laundry room floor could become wet  is legally insufficient to constitute constructive notice of the particular condition that allegedly caused the decedent to slip and fall.

Case:  Adamson v. Radford Mgt. Assoc., LLC, NY Slip Op 05057 (2d Dep't June 2, 2017)

Here is the decision.

Wednesday's issue:  A fall at work.