Slip-and-Fall Case Continues; Nexus Between Hazardous Condition and Circumstances of Fall Shown

In Yuk Ping Cheng Chan v. Young T. Lee & Son Realty Corp., the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed a denial of summary judgment for defendant in a slip-and-fall case.

Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell on a “large patch of grease” on the public sidewalk abutting premises owned by Yount T. Lee & Son Realty Corp., and subleased by Great NY Noodletown, Inc., which operated a restaurant in the space.

The owner, Lee Realty, “has a nondelegable duty to maintain the sidewalk abutting its premises pursuant to Administrative Code of City of NY § 7-210” and “failed to meet its prima facie burden to eliminate the issue of constructive notice since it submitted no evidence establishing when the sidewalk was last cleaned or inspected prior to plaintiff’s fall.”

The tenant, Noodletown, also failed to establish its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law: “The record presents triable issues as to whether Noodletown created the greasy condition on the sidewalk by disposing of waste from its restaurant on the sidewalk. There is evidence that Noodletown placed garbage bags on the sidewalk near the area where plaintiff fell.”

Finally, the court rejected defendants’ argument that plaintiff did not sufficiently identify the cause of her fall:

While [plaintiff] admitted to some uncertainty because she did not see when her foot slipped on the grease patch, plaintiff stated that following her fall, she found herself lying on top of the grease patch, her clothing and shoes had grease on them, and her shoe had left a groove in the patch. Moreover, photographs taken at the scene appear to match plaintiff’s description of the sidewalk condition.

This evidence “establishes a sufficient nexus between the hazardous condition and the circumstances of the fall, so as to establish causation.”