DEFENDANT SUPERMARKET DID NOT OFFER PROOF OF WHEN THE AREA OF THE SLIP AND FALL WAS LAST INSPECTED OR CLEANED PRIOR TO THE FALL; THEREFORE DEFENDANT DID NOT DEMONSTRATE A LACK OF CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THE GRAPES ON THE FLOOR (FIRST DEPT).
The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant supermarket’s motion for summary judgment in this slip and fall case should not have been granted; Defendant did not demonstrate it lacked constructive notice of the grapes on the floor because it presented no specific evidence of when the area had last been inspected or cleaned prior to the fall:
While defendant showed that it did not create or have actual notice of loose grapes in the produce aisle at the time of plaintiff’s accident, defendant failed to submit sufficient evidence to show, as a matter of law, that it lacked constructive notice of the condition. Specifically, defendant failed to show that its cleaning routine was followed on the day of the accident … . Its store manager testified generally that an employee was assigned to inspect and clean the produce aisle throughout the day and that he personally walked the aisles during the day, but he did not testify regarding any specific cleaning or inspection of the area in question on the day of plaintiff’s fall. A vice president testified that the cleaning protocols were verbal and were based on “common sense,” but did not offer any information as to what steps were taken during the last cleaning cycle prior to plaintiff’s accident, which also was not sufficient to establish lack of constructive notice on behalf of defendant. Accordingly, the burden did not shift to plaintiff to raise an issue of fact in opposition. Polanco v 756 Jomo Food Corp., 2023 NY Slip Op 00284, First Dept 1-24-23
Practice Point: To prevail on a motion for summary judgment in a slip and fall case the defendant must demonstrate a lack of constructive notice by proof the area was inspected or cleaned close in time to the fall.