CAUSE OF FALL SUFFICIENTLY DEMONSTRATED WITH CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, DEFENSE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PROPERLY DENIED.
The Fourth Department determined plaintiff sufficiently demonstrated the cause of her fall with circumstantial evidence. The defense motion for summary judgment was properly denied:
” In a slip and fall case, a defendant may establish its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting evidence that the plaintiff cannot identify the cause of his or her fall' without engaging in speculation” … . In a circumstantial evidence case, however, “[the] plaintiff is not required to exclude every other possible cause of the accident but defendant's negligence . . . , [but the plaintiff's] proof must render those other causes sufficiently remote or technical to enable the jury to reach [a] verdict based not upon speculation, but upon the logical inferences to be drawn from the evidence” … .
Here, plaintiff consistently testified that her shoe became caught on a crack in the step, which caused her to fall. Although there were no witnesses to the fall, and plaintiff could not remember seeing the crack at the time of the accident, she testified that the fall occurred in the immediate vicinity of a crack in the step, as revealed by a photograph in the record, “thereby rendering any other potential cause of [her] fall sufficiently remote or technical to enable [a] jury to reach [a] verdict based not upon speculation, but upon the logical inferences to be drawn from the evidence” … . Rinallo v St. Casimir Parish & Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, 2016 NY Slip Op 03323, 4th Dept 4-29-16