Failure to Identify Cause of Fall Dooms Slip-and-Fall Case

In DiLorenzo v S.I.J. Realty Co., LLC, the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s slip-and-fall claim.

There, plaintiff sued the owner of the property where she fell, as well as the company which contracted to provide cleaning services at the premises.


A plaintiff’s inability to identify the cause of her fall is fatal to a claim of negligence in a slip-and-fall case because a finding that the defendant’s negligence, if any, proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries would be based on speculation.

Applying this rule, the court held that summary judgment was properly granted for defendants:

Here, SIJ and Murphy each demonstrated their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting evidence that the plaintiff did not know what caused her to slip and fall. Even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and according her the benefit of all reasonable inferences, her claim that the cause of her fall was a wet floor due to a recent cleaning rested entirely on speculation. Indeed, the plaintiff did not know when the floor had most recently been cleaned and did not know whether the floor was wet when she fell. In opposition to the prima facie showing of SIJ and Murphy, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact.

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