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Swanson & Stein Defeat Slippery Argument in Hospital Slip & Fall Case

September 25, 2019
Suzanne Swanson (Associate-New York) and Aviva Stein (Partner-White Plains | New York) obtained summary judgment in the Supreme Court, Queens County on behalf of our client, one of the top four hospitals in the New York metropolitan area and the state. Plaintiff alleged he slipped on ice on the roof of the hospital parking structure and sustained multiple rib fractures and T9/T10 fractures requiring T8-T11 instrumentation and fusion surgery, and was seeking $500,000 to resolve the matter. Suzanne and Aviva argued that the hospital could not be liable for plaintiff’s alleged slip on ice due to the “storm-in-progress” doctrine, citing to well-settled case law that a landowner may not be held liable for accidents occurring as a result of a storm when there is a storm in progress and for a reasonable time after it has ceased. They presented certified weather records and an affidavit from our weather expert confirming it had been snowing continuously all day and had ended – at most – 90 minutes prior to plaintiff’s alleged fall, which was not enough time for the hospital to clear its extensive hospital grounds. The Court found that Suzanne and Aviva had established a prima facie showing of entitlement to summary judgment. Further, the Court found that plaintiff’s argument that the precipitation “accumulated on top of areas of old melt that remained on exposed and untreated surfaces” was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the hospital had actual or constructive notice of the condition because “evidence that there was ice in the general vicinity of the accident prior to the storm” is insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant had actual or constructive notice of the condition of the specific area within the parking lot where plaintiff allegedly fell.

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