Hickey Smith Dodd recognizes contributions to client success
Attorney Maurice Recchia, Senior Counsel in Hickey Smith Dodd’s New York Insurance Defense Practice Group, recently obtained summary judgment in favor of a commercial property owner client of the firm.
Plaintiff was a tenant in one of the buildings owned by the defendant, a Mitchell-Lama residential co-operative complex. Plaintiff alleged that he was injured after he slipped and fell due to a puddle of water in a building vestibule. Plaintiff further alleged that the property owner was negligent in its maintenance of the building for allowing the defective condition of a puddle of water to remain in the vestibule.
The day of the incident was a rainy day. Plaintiff claimed that he fell as he exited the building wearing a raincoat. According to Plaintiff, a security guard stationed at the building lobby’s front desk should have seen the accident and yet did not help him after his fall. During questioning by Mr. Recchia at his deposition, Plaintiff could not describe the size of the puddle in any way except to state that it was a “nice size”. However, in opposition to Mr. Recchia’s motion for summary judgment, plaintiff’ submitted an affidavit stating that the puddle covered most of the vestibule and was deep enough to cover most of his shoes.
In moving for summary judgment, Mr. Recchia submitted an affidavit of the superintendent of the building complex which attested that the building was assigned three porters who worked overlapping shifts and who were responsible for inspecting, cleaning and mopping the lobby floor. Mr. Recchia also obtained cooperation by the company providing security for the building, which was not a party to the lawsuit. A security guard who inspected the vestibule shortly after the alleged incident provided an affidavit stating that he had found no water present and no evidence, such as water stains, indicating that a puddle had been present but had dried.
The court found that the evidence submitted by Mr. Recchia demonstrated that the property owner had established that it did not have either actual or constructive notice of a defective condition – a puddle of water – on the date of the alleged incident and was therefore entitled to summary judgment on the question of liability.
The case is White v. Esplanade Gardens, Inc., Index No. 160610/2018 from Supreme Court, New York County.
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