The Second Department determined a slip and fall complaint against a contractor which repaired exterior stairs was properly dismissed. The court explained the three theories under which a contract can result in a duty of care owed to a third party and the requirements of a defendant-contractor’s motion for summary judgment in this context:
“Generally, a contractual obligation, standing alone, will not give rise to tort liability in favor of a third party” … . However, there are three exceptions to that general rule: “(1) where the contracting party, in failing to exercise reasonable care in the performance of his [or her] duties, launches a force or instrument of harm, (2) where the plaintiff detrimentally relies on the continued performance of the contracting party’s duties, and (3) where the contracting party has entirely displaced the other party’s duty to maintain the premises safely” … . ” As part of its prima facie showing, a contracting defendant is only required to negate the applicability of those Espinal exceptions that were expressly pleaded by the plaintiff or expressly set forth in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars'” … .
Here, the plaintiff alleged facts in his complaint and bills of particulars in support of his assertion that the defendants created or exacerbated the alleged dangerous conditions and, thus, launched a force or instrument of harm. Therefore, in support of their motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against them, the defendants were required to establish, prima facie, that they did not create or exacerbate the alleged dangerous conditions … . The defendants met this burden and established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that they neither created nor exacerbated the dangerous conditions that allegedly caused the plaintiff to sustain injuries. The parties’ deposition testimony established, prima facie, that the defendants did not leave the subject step or the handrail in a condition more dangerous than they had found them … . Barone v Nickerson, 2016 NY Slip Op 05107, 2nd Dept 6-29-16
NEGLIGENCE (CONTRACTOR WHICH REPAIRED EXTERIOR STAIRS DID NOT OWE A DUTY OF CARE TO PLAINTIFF IN THIS SLIP AND FALL CASE)/CONTRACT LAW (CONTRACTOR WHICH REPAIRED EXTERIOR STAIRS DID NOT OWE A DUTY OF CARE TO PLAINTIFF IN THIS SLIP AND FALL CASE)/TORT LIABILITY ARISING FROM CONTRACT (CONTRACTOR WHICH REPAIRED EXTERIOR STAIRS DID NOT OWE A DUTY OF CARE TO PLAINTIFF IN THIS SLIP AND FALL CASE)/SLIP AND FALL (CONTRACTOR WHICH REPAIRED EXTERIOR STAIRS DID NOT OWE A DUTY OF CARE TO PLAINTIFF IN THIS SLIP AND FALL CASE)