A Barnes and Noble security guard won an appeal for reversal of summary judgment in a Second Department ruling decided on Wednesday. The guard had sued for personal injuries in Westchester County Supreme after falling from a loading dock. The fall occurred after the guard’s foot became ensnared in garbage while working on the loading dock.
The Appellate Court determined that the defendants established that they did not create the hazardous condition, and did not have actual notice of the condition. However, the Court also found that the plaintiff raised an issue of fact as to whether the defendants had constructive notice of the condition. Blacks Law Dictionary defines constructive notice as “information or knowledge of a fact imputed by law to a person, because he could have discovered the fact by proper diligence, and his situation was such as to cast upon him the duty of inquiring into it.”
Plaintiffs here claimed that the hazardous condition was recurring on the dock thereby providing the defendants with constructive notice of the condition. Plaintiffs further argued that the defendants had failed to address the issue.
As always in cases such as this, the favorable ruling by the appellate court does not mean that the plaintiff has won his case. It simply means that the Supreme Court erred in granting summary judgment to the defendants, and that the raised issues of fact preclude granting summary judgment as a matter of law. The case will be returned to the Supreme Court for a Trial.
The Second Department’s ruling can be found on the New York State Official Reports website.