The First Department determined summary judgment should not have been granted to the defendants in a slip and fall case. The complaint alleged that there was liquid on the floor of a women’s homeless shelter operated by defendant Camba. The complaint further alleged that plaintiff frequently observed liquid on the floor after defendant food service, Whitson’s, delivered prepared food. Plaintiff also alleged she had complained about the condition to Camba’s maintenance staff. The First Department found the affidavit of Camba’s employee did not demonstrate the absence of actual or constructive notice (no evidence of the cleaning schedule was presented). The First Department also found there was a question of fact whether Whitson’s launched an instrument of harm, which would support tort liability for plaintiff’s fall arising from Whitson’s food service contract with Camba:
Camba failed to make a prima facie showing that it lacked constructive notice of the liquid on the floor. Although Camba’s employee testified that she completed her inspection of the building about an hour before the accident, and that it was her usual custom and practice to pass by the area where plaintiff claims she fell, she could not recall whether she inspected the accident location itself that afternoon when she made her rounds … . Her affidavit stating that she did not observe a slippery substance or liquid on the hallway floor during her daily rounds did not satisfy Camba’s burden of showing it had no actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition alleged and that it did not exist for a sufficient length of time prior to the accident to permit Camba employees to discover and remedy it … . Camba also failed to present evidence regarding the shelter’s cleaning schedule, and Camba’s employee lacked personal knowledge regarding the shelter’s maintenance … .
Even if Camba had met its initial burden, the record shows that there exists a question of fact as to whether it had notice of a recurring condition. Plaintiff’s testimony that she frequently would see liquid leaking from Whitson’s Food’s delivery crates at the accident location, and that she complained to Camba’s maintenance staff about the liquid, is sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to a recurring condition … .
Whitson’s Food, which had a contract with Camba to provide cooked meals for the shelter, failed to make a prima facie showing that it did not launch a force or instrument of harm by dropping liquid on the floor when it delivered food to the shelter on the day of the accident … . The deposition testimony from an employee of Whitson’s Food was insufficient to show that Whitson’s Food did not cause or create the liquid condition, since he lacked personal knowledge as to whether the floor was clean after Whitson’s Food delivered the food … . Jackson v Whitson’s Food Corp., 2015 NY Slip Op 05889, 1st Dept 7-7-15