Slip/Fall Dismissal Affirmed; Notice Undermined by Caretaker Affidavit

To succeed in a slip-and-fall case, the injured plaintiff must establish that the defendant property owner was negligent. This is typically done by showing that they had actual or constructive notice of, yet failed to correct, the dangerous condition.

In a recent decision, Canteen v. New York City Housing Authority, 2018 NY Slip OP 05733 (App. Div. 1st Dept. Aug. 9, 2018), the court unanimously affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint.

There, the court found that defendant satisfied its initial burden by presenting evidence of lack of the requisite notice:

Defendant established its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by establishing that it did not have actual or constructive notice of the urine on the staircase that allegedly caused plaintiff to fall. Defendant submitted, inter alia, the affidavit of its caretaker, who averred that it was his practice to inspect the staircase at issue twice each day, in the morning and at around 3:30 p.m., and to mop up any urine or other wet or slippery condition that he observed. He also stated that it was his practice to complete a checklist with regard to his morning inspection, and he attached and identified a copy of the checklist that he had completed as to the morning inspection on July 2, 2012, the day before plaintiff’s fall. In addition, he specifically stated that no one had complained to him about urine in a stairwell between his afternoon inspection on July 2 and the time his shift ended[.]

In response, plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact. Moreover, “[t]he evidence she submitted failed to demonstrate a recurring dangerous condition routinely left unaddressed by defendant, as opposed to a mere general awareness of such a condition, for which defendant is not liable[.]”