Slip/Fall Case Continues; Employees May Have Left Out Bags of Ice

Jahn v. SH Entertainment, LLC is a slip-and-fall case decided by the First Department on May 8, 2014. The court affirmed the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff was injured when he slipped and fell on water.

Generally, “[a] defendant who moves for summary judgment in a slip-and-fall case has the initial burden of making a prima facie showing that it neither created the hazardous condition nor had actual or constructive notice of its existence for a sufficient length of time to discover and remedy it.” See Yioves v. T.J. Maxx, Inc.

The Jahn court held that defendant failed to met its burden.

Defendant failed to establish that it lacked constructive notice of the alleged condition by demonstrating when the accident location itself was last inspected prior to plaintiff’s accident. Defendant’s submission of an affidavit of one of its owners, was insufficient to establish a lack of constructive notice as a matter of law because he did not state how often he inspected the floor or that he or defendant’s employees inspected the accident location prior to the accident. The owner only averred that he and his staff performed walk throughs during the event, which was being held in a large open space, and that he found no slippery substances or dangerous conditions on the floor.

In addition,

the record presents triable issues as to whether defendant caused or created the wet condition. Contrary to defendant’s contention, the nonparty affidavit submitted by plaintiff, which described a stream of water coming from stacked bags of ice, was not tailored to avoid the consequences of plaintiff’s deposition testimony. Instead, it supplemented plaintiff’s account by providing additional details of the source of the water that allegedly caused the accident. The nonparty affidavit provides some evidence that defendant’s employees may have created the complained-of defect by leaving the bags of ice.

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