Appellate Division Reverses Denial of Summary Judgment in Escalator Maintenance Case

5/14/2018

The Appellate Division, First Department, reversed an order of the Supreme Court, New York County, which denied Macy's summary judgment motion in a case arising from a customer's claim that he tripped and fell on allegedly defective escalator steps and was unable to break his fall because the handrail was defective as well.

In reversing the motion court, the Appellate Division agreed with Macy's that its evidence – including its employees' testimony, the escalator maintenance records, and inspections by a municipal government agency – established that the escalator was regularly maintained before the alleged accident and there were no reports of problems with it, and that plaintiff failed to raise a triable of fact in opposition.  The Appellate Division relied in part on another LSK&D appellate victory, Gjonaj v. Otis El. Co., 38 A.D.3d 384 (1st Dep't 2007).

In addition, the Appellate Division agreed with Macy's that hearsay testimony that the stairs were wet, and his own testimony that the handrail pulled up when he grasped at it, did not indicate that these conditions were present long enough for Macy's to have had notice of them – particularly in view of Macy's evidence of regular maintenance and inspections.  The Appellate Division also agreed that the opinion of plaintiff's expert engineer regarding the condition of the wooden escalator treads was insufficient to defeat summary judgment.

The appeal was briefed and argued by Paul M. Tarr.

Ahmed v. Macy's Inc., __ A.D.3d __, 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3179 (1st Dep't May 3, 2018)

Attorneys

Paul M. Tarr

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