Matthew Levy Obtains Summary Judgment in a Premises Liability Case in Supreme Court, New York County

February 28, 2018

On February 13, 2017, GVK Partner Matthew Levy obtained summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint, in its entirety, in a premises liability case pending before Justice Barbara Jaffe in the Supreme Court, New York County.  We represented the owner and management company of the building.

The Plaintiff, a 63 year old man, claimed that on August 23, 2012, between 6 pm and 7 pm, he slipped and fell on a puddle of water in the hallway on the 7th and highest floor of defendants’ building.  As a result of the accident, Plaintiff claimed to have suffered a torn meniscus to his left knee requiring arthroscopic surgery.  Plaintiff also claimed an exacerbation of left shoulder injuries, which required him to undergo arthroscopic surgery.

Plaintiff testified that it had rained hard that day between 3 pm and 4 pm.  After he slipped, Plaintiff touched the ground, felt that it was wet and saw a three to four foot long puddle of water on the floor.  He did not know how long the water had been present on the floor, but believed that it had come from a leak in the ceiling as he had seen a water stain on the ceiling and felt a few drops of water fall on him.  We hired a certified weather expert to establish that it had not rained at all on August 23, 2012.

As part of our investigation into this accident, we also contacted the non-party security guard who was working in the building’s lobby at the time of the accident.  We obtained a copy of the log book entries for August 23, 2012.  The security guard, who appeared for a deposition at our request, testified that during his hourly inspections of the entire building that afternoon and evening, he did not observe evidence of water leaking from the 7th floor ceiling before, at the time of, or after the accident. The security guard also did not document any water at the location of the accident during his inspections.

The Court held that the evidence submitted by the Defendants in the form of the routine inspections conducted by the security company throughout the day demonstrated that the Defendants did not have actual or constructive notice of the water on the floor.