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Defendants Move for Summary Judgment in Trip and Fall Action


The plaintiff in this case is Mildred Fazzolari. The defendants in this case are C E. T and Pegeen T. M. The Supreme Court of New York in Kings County is overseeing this particular matter. The main issue brought before the court in this case is whether the defendants, two family homeowners, are liable to a pedestrian who was caused to fall on a broken and protruding wire fence and raised brick that was surrounding a tree well located on the sidewalk that abuts the property that they own. The homeowners have resided in the property for sixteen years and did not repair or maintain the wire fence or bricks, which were all present when they bought the premises.

The defendants move for summary judgment dismissing the complaint made by the plaintiff Mildred Fazzolari.

Case Background

The defendants own a premises located at 924 84th Street in Brooklyn, New York. In front of the premises there is a tree well located on the sidewalk that is adjacent to the curb. The tree well contains a tree, a wire fence that surrounds the tree and brickwork that surrounds the fence.

On the fifth of June, 2008, the plaintiff fell in front of the defendant’s premises. The plaintiff states that the protruding wire from the fences snagged her pants and a protruding brick contributed to her stumble and fall. The plaintiff testified that she was walking and her pants leg on the right side got caught on some fencing that was sticking out at a point. When I tried to move forward there was a raised brick that I tripped over and I fell down.

The defendants testified that the bricks and fence around the tree were present when he purchased the premises sixteen years ago. He testified that he did not make any repairs to the bricks or fence the entire time that he owned the property.

Following the accident the defendants have had the sidewalk in front of the premises replaced and the bricks and fence have been replaced as well.

Case Discussion and Decision

A summary judgment in any legal matter can only be granted when there are no triable issues of fact in the case. The Court of Appeals has generally ruled that the liability for injuries sustained on a property as a result of negligent maintenance or the existence of dangerous and defective conditions falls to the municipality and not the abutting landowner. However, there are cases where this general rule is not applicable.

In this particular case the plaintiff has not established any triable issues of fact to support her case. While it is quite clear that the maintenance of the particular area was quite poor, the plaintiff cannot offer enough support for her particular case. For this reason, the court must grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The complaint against the defendants is dismissed.

If you need legal advice, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our offices are located all around New York City. Call us to set up an appointment for a free consultation. We are happy to discuss your case with you and help you determine the best course of action.

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