The plaintiffs and appellants of the case are Diane Babich et al. the defendants in the case are R.G.T. Restaurant Corporation who was doing business as the restaurant Punch. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, and First Judicial Department.
This is a personal injury action that stems from a fall that the plaintiff took down an interior staircase that led to a cellar where the bathrooms of the premises are located. The building where the fall took place is owned by Scher and operated as a restaurant known as Punch.
After discovery during trial the restaurant motioned for summary judgment to dismiss the case against them. The owner made a cross motion for dismissal on the same grounds. The motion and cross motion were granted based on the fact that the plaintiff could not identify the reason for the fall and failed to show any defects in the staircase. The case was dismissed on the basis of lack of evidence of a defective condition.
Case Discussion and Decision
As an out of possession landlord we agree with the decision to dismiss the action against the owner of the premises. Generally a landlord is not held accountable fro negligence in regard to the condition of the property after they have transferred possession and control to the tenant.
In regard to the grant of a summary motion in favor of the restaurant we reach a different conclusion. In support for the motion the defendant offered evidence to show that the staircase was in compliance with the appropriate building code provisions.
To oppose the motion the plaintiffs provided evidence from an expert architect who observed the staircase and noted that the non slip finish that is required by the building codes has severely and almost completely worn off. This creates a hazardous and slippery condition at the end of each step and at the top of the platform.
The plaintiff states that she slipped on the top step, which is shown by her expert to have a completely worn out non slip surface. This evidence that was provided should have been sufficient to warrant a trial in the case. The evidence offered by the plaintiff raises an issue of fact in the matter. The original order made by the Supreme Court granting a summary judgment in the case is in error.
After reviewing the facts of the case the court rules in favor of the plaintiff and grants a reversal of the order for summary judgment in regard to the defendant, Punch. The owner of the building as an out of possession landlord is granted the summary judgment in regard to liability.
The case will be referred back to the court for further proceedings in the matter.
Any time a person slips and falls at a business or public place, there is a question of liability. If you have been injured in this way contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates for help. Our team of lawyers will discuss your legal rights with you to determine your best course of legal action in the matter. Our offices are located throughout the city of New York for your convenience. Contact us at any time to set up a free consultation.