The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendants’ motion for summary judgment in this slip and fall case should not have been granted. The defendants did not submit proof of when the area was last inspected and therefore did not demonstrate they lacked constructive notice of the condition:
A defendant has constructive notice of a hazardous condition on property when the condition is visible and apparent, and has existed for a sufficient length of time prior to the accident to afford the defendant a reasonable opportunity to discover and remedy it … . To meet its burden on the issue of constructive notice, a defendant is required to offer evidence as to when the accident site was last inspected relative to the time when the plaintiff fell … . Here, the defendants failed to demonstrate when they last inspected the walkway prior to the incident and they failed to establish, prima facie, that they did not have constructive notice of the alleged hazardous condition … . The defendants also failed to establish, prima facie, that the cinder block was open and obvious and not inherently dangerous … . Ferrer v 120 Union Ave., LLC, 2022 NY Slip Op 03096, Second Dept 5-11-22
Practice Point: For years hundreds of cases were reversed because there was no evidence of when the area of a slip and fall was last inspected by a defendant and therefore defendant did not demonstrate a lack of constructive notice and was not entitled to summary judgment. Now there are just a few cases reversed for this reason in a given year. The bar has learned this lesson.