Contractor May Be Liable in Staircase Fall

In Ingleton v. Brooks Shopping Centers, the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the denial of summary judgment to defendant ECI Contracting. The court held:

ECI’s motion was properly denied in this action where plaintiff Norma Ingleton alleges that she was injured after falling on a staircase constructed by ECI. Although a contractual obligation does not generally give rise to tort liability in favor of a third party such as plaintiff, a contractor is potentially liable in tort to third persons when the contracting party, in failing to exercise reasonable care in the performance of its duties, launches a force or instrument of harm. Here, ECI failed to proffer sufficient evidence showing that the staircase was properly constructed or inspected in a reasonable and prudent manner prior to the accident.

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