Christmas Tree Trip-and-Fall Complaint Dismissed

If, while out and about this holiday season, you encounter a pile of Christmas trees, tread carefully.

In Barchi v. Rudin E. 55th St. LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op 07266 (App. Div. 1st Dept. Nov. 3, 2016), the court affirmed the summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s trip-and-fall personal injury complaint.

From the decision/order:

Defendants satisfied their prima facie burden by submitting evidence, including plaintiff’s own testimony, demonstrating that the pile of Christmas trees over which plaintiff tripped was an open, obvious, and not inherently dangerous condition[].

In opposition, plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact. He admitted observing the trees before the accident, and while he claims not to have seen the specific tree trunk over which he tripped, through the reasonable use of his senses, he should have realized that the pile of trees he observed would include tree trunks[]. Plaintiff also failed to dispute defendants’ evidence showing that the pile of trees did not dangerously obstruct the sidewalk so as to impede the flow of pedestrian traffic.

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