Sometimes called “slip and fall” or “fall down cases,” premises liability lawsuits encompass much more than the stereotypical situation in which someone slips on a grape at the grocery store. Recovery hinges on a variety of factors, including the nature of the plaintiff’s reason for being on the property where the injury happened (invitee, licensee, trespasser, etc.), any comparative fault by the plaintiff, and the nature of the defendant’s business. Special rules apply to claims in which the government is the defendant.
The Allegations in the Plaintiff’s Complaint
In the case of Ramirez v. New York City Housing Authority, the plaintiff was a woman filing on behalf of a decedent who died as a result of injuries he sustained on the premises of property owned by the defendant, New York City Housing Authority. In the woman’s complaint, she averred that the defendant had either actual or constructive notice of the fact that the elevators on the subject property were in a “perpetually broken down condition.” She further claimed that the housing authority’s negligence had to contributed to the malfunctioning elevators and that its decision to place the decedent on the sixteenth floor of the apartment building at issue contributed to his death.
The Trial Court’s Ruling on the Defendant’s Motion
The housing authority filed a motion to dismiss some or all of the woman’s claims against it. The Supreme Court of Bronx County entered an order denying the housing authority’s motion.
Modifications by the Appellate Court
On appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department, the court modified the lower court’s order. According to the court, the trial court should have dismissed the woman’s claims arising from defendant’s discretionary act in providing the decedent an apartment on the sixteenth floor but it was correct in otherwise denying the housing authority’s motion for summary judgment. The court noted that it was well-settled law that the housing authority has broad discretion to set the terms of occupancy of its apartments.
The lower court correctly determined that issues of fact existed as to whether the housing authority had notice (either actual or constructive) of the elevators’ condition and whether its negligence contributed to the malfunctioning of the elevators on the night that the decedent passed away.
Speak to a Long Island Injury Lawyer
Too often, accident victims put off calling an attorney, and their case suffers for the delay once they do make that important call. Witnesses can become difficult to track down, and accident scenes can change. It pays to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you have been hurt on another person’s property and believe that the property owner’s negligence contributed to your injuries. If you are ready to speak to an experienced New York accident lawyer, the law firm of Duffy & Duffy is here to help. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling us at (516) 394-4200. We handle cases throughout the greater New York area, including the Bronx, Queens, and Long Island.
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