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Climatological data supports summary judgment for parking lot owner: Court finds no actual or constructive notice of icy condition

Lakins v. 171 E.205th Street, Index No. 301868/2009 (Sup. Ct. Bronx Cty. April 1, 2013)

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Use of precipitation and sunset data made all the difference in a Bronx slip and fall action. Plaintiff claimed to have slipped on snow and ice in an open-air parking lot on a late January afternoon.

On its motion for summary judgment, the defendant owner of the parking lot showed that plaintiff could not demonstrate either actual or constructive notice of any icy condition. Testimony established that there had been no complaints. Plaintiff had been in the parking lot another time earlier in the day, and at the time of the accident she was able to see where she was walking. Although she did not see the ice before she slipped, she had concluded that ice was there because 'it was cold and wet that night.'

Defendant controverted arguments that lighting conditions in the parking lot were the proximate cause of the accident, using sunset records that showed sunset 20 minutes after the plaintiff's alleged fall. Also, weather data did not establish any hazardous condition, showing nothing more than small amount of freezing rain and/or snow in the forty-eight hour period preceding the accident.

AGF&J associate John Fronce handled the owner's defense.