The Second Department recently reversed an initial summary judgment ruling in favor of the City of New York. According to the suit, the plaintiff slipped and fell on greasy steps inside a city sanitation garage. The Trial Court agreed with the City, in that it did not have notice of the grease on the steps, which created the hazardous condition.
As a matter of law in a case involving a slip and fall, if moving for summary judgment, the defendant has the initial burden of showing that it did not create the condition, nor did it have actual or constructive notice of the condition. In reversing the Trial Court’s ruling, the Appellate Division noted that the City failed to meet its initial burden with respect to creation and notice.
The Court explained that given the location of the accident site, the defendant failed to establish, prima facie, that the greasy substance was not created by its employees. They further reasoned that reversal was appropriate because the defendant also failed to submit any evidence as to when the subject staircase was last cleaned or inspected, thereby failing to establish they did not have constructive notice of the alleged hazardous condition. Since the defendant failed to establish its initial burden for summary judgment, plaintiff’s papers were not considered.