Restaurant and Staffing Agency Summary Judgment Motions Denied in Slip-and-Fall Accident on Broken Glass

Case: Brockman v. Cipriani Wall Street

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

Date: June 19, 2012

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

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Slip / Trip and Fall Accidents

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Facts: Plaintiff/accident victim went to an event at defendant's fancy-schmancy restaurant. She slipped and fell when wh encountered broken glass scattered on the dance floor.

In a legal-technicality-procedural-type quirk, the restaurant claimed over against the company that staffed this unnamed event with employees. The restaurant claimed that if it was liable (responsible) for the plaintiff=s accident and injury, than the employees of staffing company were liable to it, for two reasons. First, because (the restaurant claimed) the employee staffing company was actually negligent here and ot the restaurant ("common-law indemnification") and, second, that the contract between the restaurant and the employee staffing company for the event made it responsible for an accident at the restaurant ("contractual indemnification").

Summary judgment motions were made by the restaurant either to dismiss plaintiff's case or to allow it to win on its claims against the employee staffing company. The employee staffing company asked for summary judgment dismissing either the restaurant's claims against it or the plaintiff's claim. The lower court denied all the summary judgment motions.

Held: The appeals court found the existence of questions of fact as to the restaurant=s possible notice presence of the glass on the dance floor before plaintiff fell, and that she told a staffer about the glass. For the same rason, the staffing agency's summary judgment motion is denied.

Also, there was some evidence that the outside staffers were supervised by restaurant personnel.

The claims by one defendant (the restaurant) against another (the staffing agency) are denied because, (1) the accident has not been blamed on anyone yet, and , (2) the contract for the staffing of the event didn't have language that the staffing agency would indemnify the restaurant for accident claims.

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