Court Dismisses Complaint As to Defendant Contractor In Action Involving Plaintiff Who Tripped and Fell On Sidewalk Area Abutting Tree Pit

In a decision dated September 5, 2019, the Hon. Barbara Jaffe granted our client E.W. Howell Co., LLC summary judgment, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint as a matter of law. The plaintiff commenced this action alleging personal injuries as a result of a trip and fall on the sidewalk in front of the Brearley School Project, located at 580 East 83rd Street, New York, New York. The plaintiff claimed that he fell when his left ankle “buckled” as he was walking on the sidewalk next to the Brearley School Project. More specifically, the plaintiff claimed that his accident occurred at the area where the sidewalk met a tree pit, causing him to fall. Based on the testimony of Howell’s witness, Howell was involved in the then-ongoing construction project at the project site, but it did not perform any work at or in the tree pit, or the sidewalk next to it on East 83rd Street, where the plaintiff stated his accident happened; nor did any subcontractor perform work at the accident location. The only obligation Howell undertook concerning the sidewalks adjacent to the school was to produce a site safety plan indicating the location of sidewalk bridges. The Court determined that Howell demonstrated neither Howell nor their subcontractors performed work on the sidewalk or created the subject condition, and that plaintiff’s pure speculation that Howell performed work in that area was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact. In light of the foregoing, all claims against Howell were dismissed as a matter of law.

Steven Anderson v. E.W. Howell Co., LLC, Index No. 152012/2018 (N.Y. Co. Sup. Ct., September 5, 2019)

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This post was written by Sander Rothchild