The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Tom, determined the owner of an apartment building was in violation of Multiple Dwelling Law 53, which prohibited vertical ladder fire escapes. Plaintiff fell through the hole in the vertical ladder fire escape when she was visiting her friend’s apartment. Plaintiff was rendered paraplegic and sued the building owner:
… [I]n 1948, the Legislature amended the section to add language to subsection nine of Multiple Dwelling Law § 53 (see Laws of New York, 1948, ch 850). The law was entitled “An Act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to existing fire escapes,” and subsection nine, as amended, expressly states that “[a] wire, chain cable, vertical ladder or rope fire-escape is an unlawful means of egress. Every such fire-escape, if required as a means of egress, shall be removed and replaced by a system of fire-escapes constructed and arranged as provided in this section” (Multiple Dwelling Law § 53).
A plain reading of the clear and unambiguous language of subsection nine leads to the conclusion that all vertical ladders on multiple dwellings, regardless of when the fire escape was constructed, are unlawful and must be removed and replaced by a fire escape that complies with the provisions of Multiple Dwelling Law § 53. Notably, the section includes no exceptions of any kind … . Klupchak v First E. Vil. Assoc., 2016 NY Slip Op 03276, 1st Dept 4-28-16