Evidence of Water on Lobby Floor Meets Summary Judgment Burden in Personal Injury Slip/Fall Case

In Monzac v. 1141 Elder Towers LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op 01243 (App. Div. 1st Dept. Feb. 20, 2020) – a personal injury slip-and-fall case – the court reversed the lower court’s directed verdict for defendant.

From the decision:

Plaintiff’s trial evidence established prima facie that defendant had constructive notice of the water on the floor of the lobby of its building on which plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell (see Irizarry v 15 Mosholu Four, LLC, 24 AD3d 373 [1st Dept 2005]). Plaintiff testified that at least four times before his accident, every few months, he observed water leaking from the ceiling onto the floor below in the area where he fell. His former girlfriend, with whom he lived in the building, testified that before the date of the accident “there were leaks and then afterward it was leaking again.” This testimony established that “an ongoing and recurrent dangerous condition existed in the area of the accident that was routinely left unaddressed by the landlord” (id. at 373; see Talavera v New York City Tr. Auth., 41 AD3d 135, 136 [1st Dept 2007]). Issues of credibility were for the jury.

The court also held that the lower court improperly precluded the testimony of defendant’s building superintendent at the time of the accident on the ground that it was prejudicial to defendant, reasoning that “Defendant could not have been prejudiced or surprised by plaintiff’s disclosure of Soto as a witness on the eve of trial, since [the superintendent] was defendant’s employee at the time of the accident.”

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