Pet groomer's van held it in all winter; Court dismisses Complaint where pedestrian could not establish existence of leak that turned to ice on sidewalk

Curiotto v. Garcia, et al., Index No. 304127/2014 (Sup. Ct. Bronx Cty. 2019)

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Plaintiff's slip and fall accident could not be traced to any leak from defendant's van. Accordingly, the Court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell on a sidewalk abutting the home where the defendant pet grooming company parked its van in in the driveway during winter months. The principal of the business owned the home. Plaintiff sued both the home owner and the pet grooming business, claiming that their negligence caused his fall, and in particular that water leaking from the van froze on the sidewalk.

The defendant pet grooming company moved for summary judgment on the ground that it did not cause or create any allegedly dangerous condition, and had no duty to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk. Relying on the parties' deposition testimony, defendant showed that the van was typically driven to clients' locations where the grooming would be performed, and any water utilized in the grooming would be disposed of at the client's location. The van was generally not used in the winter, and that month the business had at most one assignment. Most importantly, the van did not ever leak and plaintiff testified that he had never seen the van leak at any time, including on the date of the alleged accident.

The AGF&J motor vehicle team briefed and argued the motion.