The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s proof demonstrated that the elevator door malfunctioned at the time plaintiff attempted to enter the elevator. A malfunction is not enough to support a products liability cause of action:
Plaintiff Patricia Booth was injured when she was knocked to the ground when the doors to an elevator closed as she was attempting to enter the elevator; Otis had modernized the elevator eight years earlier. Otis established prima facie entitlement to summary judgment dismissing the strict products liability claim by submitting evidence that the elevator door at issue was not defective … .
… Crediting the testimony of plaintiff’s daughter that she was holding the door open button and that plaintiff had crossed the elevator threshold when the doors began to close, this establishes nothing more than a malfunction at the time of the accident, which is insufficient to maintain a strict products liability cause of action … . The fact that Otis “both supplied the elevator and serviced it after installation would not impose upon [it] strict liability for a defect which developed after installation was completed” … . Booth v Otis El. Co., 2021 NY Slip Op 06433, First Dept 11-18-21