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Defendant Claims No Notice of Defect in Slip and Fall Case, NY Supreme Court Decides


This case involves the plaintiffs Ann Marie and Frank S. The defendants in the case are the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the City of New York. They are also a third party plaintiff against Five Star Parking who is the third party defendant in the case. This case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in the Count of New York.

The action in this case comes from a trip and fall accident that occurred on the 16th of May, 2005 in the parking lot 10# located at the La Guardia Airport. The defendant, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey own the land that covers the parking lot. The third party defendant, Five Star Parking operates the parking lot where the accident occurred.

Port Authority’s Argument

Port Authority moves for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint against them on the ground that they did not have actual or constructive notice of the complained of defect. They also argue that there is no issue of fact that the pavement condition that caused the accident was trivial in nature and for that reason was non actionable.

Port Authority has also moved for a summary judgment in its action against Five Star arguing that Five Star is contractually bound to indemnify Port Authority pursuant to the contract with the company. furthermore, Port Authority argues that Five Star breached their contract by failing to procure liability insurance naming Port Authority as the insured.

Plaintiff’s Argument

The plaintiff’s oppose summary judgment relying on the deposition testimony provided by nonparty witness Elizabeth Rivera who states that she visits the parking lot on numerous occasions and has witnessed the subject defect along with several other pavement defects. She also testified that she witnessed the plaintiff, Ann Marie Bard fall over what Rivera characterized as more of a pothole rather than a simple indentation.

Case Discussion and Determination

Summary judgment in a trip and fall case can only be granted if there is proof submitted showing there is sufficient evidence to warrant a judgment in favor of one of the parties as a matter of law. The court must be shown that there is no material issue presented for trial.

There is a trivial fact in this case where the law states that the owner of real property bears the responsibility to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition and they may be held liable if injuries are caused by a dangerous condition on the property.

When reviewing the facts of the case it is found that the Port Authority has failed to provide enough evidence to warrant a summary judgment in regard to the complaint made by the plaintiffs. For this reason, this portion of their motion is denied. The motion by Port Authority for summary judgment to be granted in regard to their case against the third party defendant Five Star Parking is granted and the amount of recovery is to be determined at the conclusion of the action.

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