The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant landlord’s motion for summary judgment in this wet-bathroom-floor slip and fall case should not have been granted. Plaintiff alleged the landlord failed to repair brackets for the shower curtain. The fact that the water on the floor was an open and obvious condition relieved landlord of the duty to warn, but not the duty to keep the property safe:
Supreme Court erred in granting summary judgment to defendants on the basis that plaintiff failed to identify the condition of water on the floor before he slipped and fell. Supreme Court incorrectly found that any conclusion that plaintiff slipped and fell because of water accumulation would be based on speculation. Plaintiff argues correctly that, even if in his deposition testimony he did not explicitly state that he noticed water on the floor before he stepped out of the shower, a jury could reasonably infer that he slipped and fell on water on the floor due to the absence of a shower curtain … . Defendants’ proof failed to negate this reasonable inference … .
“[E]ven if a hazard qualifies as open and obvious’ as a matter of law, that characteristic merely eliminates the property owner’s duty to warn of the hazard, but does not eliminate the broader duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition” … .
… Defendants argue that the broken brackets were not an inherently dangerous condition but rather a benign condition. However, as plaintiff correctly observes, the purpose of the shower brackets was to hold up the shower curtain, and the purpose of a shower curtain is to prevent the accumulation of water when the shower is in use. Matos v Azure Holdings II, L.P., 2020 NY Slip Op 01441, First Dept 3-3-20