Appellate Division Affirms Summary Judgment for the City of New York

Jul 3, 2009

A New York state appeals court has affirmed the decision of a lower court, which granted summary judgment to the City of New York, which was sued by a fan, who claimed negligence after a slip and fall incident outside Shea Stadium.
Plaintiff Larry Rooney alleged that he sustained personal injuries on August 21, 2005 when he fell as he stepped off an orange painted curb that had a missing piece, immediately outside of Shea Stadium.
He alleged that Sterling and the City were negligent in their ownership, operation, maintenance and control of Shea Stadium and the subject curb. The plaintiff argued that the walkway outside of Shea Stadium was not subject to the City’s prior written notification law.
Justice Phyllis Orlikoff Flug, sitting in the Supreme Court, Queens County granted the defendants Sterling Mets, L.P. (“Sterling”) and the City’s motion for summary judgment. Justice Flug found that the purported condition was a trivial defect, lack of notice and speculation as to the cause of the fall. With regard to the City’s lack of notice, the defendants established that the City did not have prior written notice of the purported condition as required the City of New York Administrative Code §7-201(c), by submitting a copy of the Big Apple Pothole Sidewalk Protection Corporation Map for the general area outside of Shea Stadium before the date of the alleged accident. The Big Apple Map reflected that there were no recorded defects.
The plaintiffs appealed the decision, arguing that the Supreme Court erred in ruling that prior written notice was necessary in order to find that the City had notice of the purported condition and that there was a question of fact whether the City had constructive notice and whether the condition was trivial. The plaintiffs did not appeal the dismissal of Sterling from the action.
The Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the decision of the Supreme Court, Queens County, stating that “[t]he City established its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against it by submitting evidence that the City had no prior written notice of the alleged defective curb condition.” As a result, the Appellate Division did not consider any of the other arguments raised by the plaintiffs.
Larry Rooney v. Sterling Mets, L.P. and the City of New York. N.Y.Supreme Ct.; Appellate Division, Second Department; 2009 NY Slip Op 05311; 6/23/09
Attorneys of Record: (for defendants)
Carla Varriale and Jarett L. Warner of Havkins. Rosenfeld, Ritzert & Varriale


Articles in Current Issue