CASE DISMISSED ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR NO NOTICE; PLAINTIFF SUFFERED ELECTRIC SHOCK WALKING INTO STORE

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York

Case: Salazar v. Fives 160th LLC

Date: Jan. 19, 2012

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Bronx Queens; Queens injury attorney)

Comment: This case presents an old problem in the negligence world. If a plaintiff can=t show the reason for the accident plus that the landlord had some type of "notice," game over. Which is what happened here.

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RELATED POSTS:

SLIP-AND-FALL ACCIDENT IN LAUNDRY ROOM DISMISSED: NO "NOTICE" TO BUILDING OWNER & MANAGER; NO "DUTY OF CARE" OR "NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION" BY PARENTS(Posted by Queens injury attorney Gary E. Rosenberg on Dec 15, 2011)

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Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Joan A. Madden, J.), entered on or about June 24, 2010, which granted the motion of defendants Fives 160th LLC and Beachlane Management for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and cross claims against them, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff seeks damages for injuries sustained when he received an electric shock upon opening the front door of defendant 994 store. The store was operated by defendant Daska, pursuant to a lease with the owner, defendant Fives, which employed defendant Beachlane to manage the building.

The owner and managing agent made a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting the lease and deposition testimony. In response, plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact. The record establishes, by the terms of the lease and the conduct of the parties, that the owner was an out‑of‑possession landlord; thus, it may not be liable to plaintiff in the absence of prior notice of the defect and responsibility for maintenance and repair (see Lopez v. 1372 Shakespeare Ave. Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., 299 A.D.2d 230, 231 [2002]). Here, there is no evidence that the owner and managing agent had actual or constructive notice of any dangerous or defective electrical condition at the premises. The owner's retention of the right to reenter the premises for repairs does not raise an issue of fact as to constructive notice, given the absence of evidence, or even an allegation, of "a significant structural or design defect that is contrary to a specific statutory safety provision" (McDonald v. Riverbay Corp., 308 A.D.2d 345, 346 [2003] [internal quotation marks omitted]).

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NO "NOTICE" OF RAISED RUG ON FLOOR; CASE DISMISSED ON DEFENSE SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION (Posted Brooklyn accident attorney by Gary E. Rosenberg on Nov 5, 2011)

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The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is inapplicable; the terms of the lease, which placed responsibility for maintenance of nonstructural conditions of the premises on the tenant, establish that the owner and managing agent did not have exclusive control of the electrical system at the premises (see Pavon v. Rudin, 254 A.D.2d 143, 147 [1998]).

We reject plaintiff's claim that he is entitled to damages as a third‑party beneficiary of the lease. The record establishes that plaintiff is, at most, an incidental beneficiary of the insurance provision in the lease (see Burns Jackson Miller Summit & Spitzer v. Lindner, 59 N.Y.2d 314, 336-337 [1983]; Green v. Fox Is. Park Autobody, 255 A.D.2d 417, 418-419 [1998]). That plaintiff was a "business invitee" does not mandate a different result.

We have considered plaintiff's remaining arguments and find them unavailing.

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