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Plaintiff's case does not hinge on rusty screws

Modesta Brignoni v. 601 W. 162 Associates, LP, Supreme Court, New York County January 7, 2011

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In a premises liability case, involving a plaintiff who fell through a cellar door that was located on the floor of a store in the defendant’s building, AGF&J associate Bridget Q. Choi won summary judgment based on the defense that defendant did not have the requisite notice of the condition that caused the accident.

The Court found that the defendant neither created, nor had notice of, the condition that caused the accident. The court agreed that the plaintiff’s expert report was gratuitous and unavailing. The plaintiff’s expert suggested that the existence of rust on the screws and hinges that attached the cellar door to the floor provided a question of fact as to whether the defendant knew or should have known of a defect in the cellar door. The Court held that the existence of rust standing alone is insufficient to establish constructive notice and that defendant met its burden to prove its defense.