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Defendants Move for Summary Judgment in Slip and Fall Case


This is a case being heard in the New York Supreme Court located in Richmond County. The plaintiff in this case is Christina Selvaggio. The defendants in the case are Freedom Avenue Associates, Hunter Ridge Co. and Gateway Arms Realty Corp.

The plaintiff began this action against the defendants to recover damages for injuriesthat she sustained as a result of a trip and fall accident that occurred around the third of June, 2008. The accident occurred on the sidewalk in front of the premises locates at 131 Freedom Avenue in Richmond County.

The defendants have moved for a summary judgment in the matter to dismiss the complaint made against them.

Plaintiff’s Case

The plaintiff states that she was walking her dog around 8:30 on the morning of the accident. She states that her dog pulled her into a foot shaped hole in the sidewalk located in front of the subject premises. The plaintiff argues that the defendants are negligent in maintaining the sidewalk where her accident occurred as they had been notified of the defect in the sidewalk and failed to make the necessary repairs to it. She states that her injuries are a result of that negligence.

The injuries the plaintiff allegedly sustained from the accident include a tear of the Lisfranc ligament in her left foot, a sprain in the same ligament, a fracture of the cuboid in her left foot, and a sprain/strain of the left foot. Additionally, the plaintiff suffers from RSD in her left foot, which is allegedly permanent.

Defendant’s Argument

The defendant’s argue that the defect in the sidewalk was minor and that it did not have the necessary characteristics to require action be taken to repair it. To support their motion for summary judgment the defendants offer photographs of the area where the accident took place and the affidavit from Anil Dizare Vincent, who is the superintendent of the building at the Hunter Ridge Apartment Complex.

In the affidavit, Mr. Vincent describes the defect in the sidewalk as being approximately three inches long, two and a half inches wide, and less than an inch deep. He states that he walks that area three or four times a week and had never seen the defect that the plaintiff claims to have fallen on.

Case Discussion and Decision

The court has looked at photographs of the area submitted by both the plaintiff and the defendant. While there seem to be several areas of the sidewalk with defects, none of them could possibly be more than an inch deep. Furthermore, the fact that the plaintiff states that she was pulled by the dog makes the action even less plausible. The defendant cannot be accountable for the behavior of the plaintiff’s dog, which is more likely the cause of the accident than the small areas of the sidewalk with cracks.

For the reasons above, the court rules in favor of the defendant. The motion for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint made against them is granted.

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