By Thomas M. Bona.
Court: Supreme Court of the State of New York – Orange County
Judge: Maria S. Vasquez-Doles
Case Type: Slip and Fall / Premises Liability
Caption: Estelle Brown, Individually, and Estelle Brown as Executrix of the Estate of et al v. Patriot Ridge Condo et al.
Index No.: EF002053-2017
Decision Date: May 11, 2020
Decision: Summary Judgment
As everyone is reminded during jury selection, there is a difference between making a claim and proving a claim. At PMT, we pride ourselves in every case we defend on putting the plaintiff to their proof and challenging them to prove their case. A recent case in which we won summary judgment for our client illustrates this.
In Brown v. Patriot Ridge Condominium, plaintiff fell on black ice near the end of her driveway on December 29, 2016. Plaintiff, a 73-year-old woman, suffered serious physical injuries. The testimony that we developed from the plaintiff, our client and non-party witnesses showed that it had rained earlier in the day and then freezing temperatures descended on the area shortly before the plaintiff fell. We established that in the area where plaintiff fell and throughout the condominium complex, there had been no ice an hour and a half before plaintiff’s fall, but that ice had developed throughout the condominium development during the course of that next hour and a half.
We argued that there was no actual or constructive notice of the condition that would have provided sufficient time for our client to remedy the condition. In addition, we argued that there was a storm in progress so that our client’s time to remedy the condition would not have begun until a reasonable time after the storm had subsided. The plaintiff contended that our client was aware of drainage issues which caused water to accumulate in the plaintiff’s driveway. The Court agreed with our arguments and found that there was no actual or constructive notice that would have given our client time to remedy the icy condition. The court also found that there had never been any complaints made to our client regarding the drainage issue plaintiff alleged contributed to her fall. The court granted our motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s complaint.
By aggressively putting plaintiff to her proof and forcing her to prove her case, we were able to win summary judgment for our client and dismiss plaintiff’s complaint.
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