Slip-and Fall Down Stairs: No Summary Judgment to Tenant Who Placed Slippery Mat on Stairway Landing or Condo Owner of Stairs

Case: Pechman v. Vista at Kingsgate Section II

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

Date: 7/18/12

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

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Facts: This plaintiff lived in a condominium apartment building. In March of 2009 he was walking down a flight of stairs when he slipped on a mat placed on a stairway landing by another tenant. He started this personal injury case against the condominium and the tenant.

The lower Court granted both defendants' request for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and lawsuit against them. This appeal followed.

Held: The Court reminds readers that the party seeking summary judgment in an accident case bears the burden of proof; this can be a plaintiff or defendant (unlike, say, at trial, where the initial burden of proof is always on the plaintiff).

The tenant who placed the mat on the floor failed to meet her initial burden of proof to show that the mat was not dangerous. On this appeal, the lower court is reversed and her motion for summary judgment is denied.

The condominium failed to show when it last inspected the mat and thus failed to show that it didn't have notice of the slippery mat. It, too, is denied summary judgment by this appeals court.

And this case goes forward to an eventual trial.

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