Monday, June 16, 2014

Notice and res ipsa in a personal injury action.

Practice point:  Postal worker-plaintiff sued for damages resulting from personal injuries allegedly sustained when the mailbox receptacle unit in defendants' building fell into the wall as she was closing the unit after placing the mail in the individual boxes.

The Appellate Division affirmed the motion court's granting of defendants' motion for summary judgment. Defendants sustained their initial burden of demonstrating that they did not cause, create or have actual or constructive notice of a defect in the mailbox receptacle unit, that the defect was not visible or apparent, and that a reasonable inspection would not have revealed that the box was loose.

Student note:  The Appellate Division found that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is inapplicable because defendants did not have exclusive access to the mailbox receptacle unit. It was undisputed that only postal employees, like plaintiff, were given a key.

Case:  Soto v. New Frontiers 2 Hope Hous. Dev. Fund Co., NY Slip Op 04123 (1st Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Entering into a contract.