Plaintiff Could Not Demonstrate Cause of Her Fall Without Resorting to Speculation
The Second Department determined summary judgment was properly granted to the defendant in a slip and fall case because the plaintiff could not identify the case of her fall:
“Ordinarily, a defendant moving for summary judgment in a trip-and-fall case has the burden of establishing that it did not create the hazardous condition that allegedly caused the fall, and did not have actual or constructive notice of that condition for a sufficient length of time to discover and remedy it. However, a defendant can make its prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by establishing that the plaintiff cannot identify the cause of his or her fall without engaging in speculation” … .
“[A] plaintiff’s inability to identify the cause of the fall is fatal to the cause of action, because a finding that the defendant’s negligence, if any, proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries would be based on speculation” … . “Where it is just as likely that some other factor, such as a misstep or a loss of balance, could have caused a slip and fall accident, any determination by the trier of fact as to causation would be based upon sheer conjecture” … .
Here, the defendants established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting a transcript of the plaintiff’s deposition testimony, which demonstrated that the plaintiff could not identify the cause of her fall without resorting to speculation … . Mitgang v PJ Venture HG, LLC, 2015 NY Slip Op 02101, 2nd Dept 3-18-15