A recent case, Jaquez v. Lind-Ric Hous. Co., 48 Misc. 3d 1204(A), 17 N.Y.S.3d 383 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 19, 2015), illustrates the difficulties faced by plaintiffs in slip-and-fall cases, particularly those where the alleged defective condition is not a structural defect or a transitory condition (water, debris, etc) but rather the nature of the surface itself.
From the decision:
In the instant matter, the plaintiff failed to establish that triable issues of fact exist as to whether the defendants were negligent with respect to the interior stairs where he fell. Despite not knowing the exact stair on which he fell, the plaintiff was able to identify the area of the stairs on which the accident occurred. This means that the expert’s affidavit may be used to identify the cause of the slip in that area. The plaintiff argues that the high gloss enamel paint used by the defendants on the stairs eliminated the non-skid properties that the concrete stairs inherently possessed, causing the slippery condition of the stairs in the area where he fell. Other than stating that the steps are slippery, the plaintiff’s expert, in his affidavit, does not identify any tests that were conducted on the surface of the stairwell, nor cite any specific industry standards stating that the paint used would cause an unsafe and slippery condition. Further, the plaintiff had used the stairs in question regularly leading up to the accident and never experienced difficulties with them before. Thus, the plaintiff failed to meet his burden in opposing the instant motion.