FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 04/17/ :37 PM INDEX NO /2016 NYSCEF DOC. NO. 75 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 04/17/2019

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1 SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK X ANNE ELLINGTON, Plaintiff, Index No.: /16 -against- INFINITY-XERXES 1464 LLC., SRS REAL ESTATE PARTNERS-NORTHEAST, LLC., and CONSOLIDATED EDISON OF NEW YORK, INC., REPLY AFFIRMATION Defendants X STATE OF NEW YORK ) COUNTY OF NEW YORK ) : ss.: SCOTT H. SESKIN, an attorney duly admitted to practice in the Courts of the State of New York, makes this affirmation pursusat to the Civil Practice Law and Rules, and under the penalties of perjury: I am attorney for the plaintiffin the within action, and I am fully familiar with all of the facts and prior proceedings had herein. This affirmation is madeupon information and belief, based on records and other infonnation contained in the file regularly maintained for this action by the aforesaid law firm. This affirmation is made in reply to the opposition by defcedsñts to plaintiff's motion for an Order pursuant to C.P.L.R granting plaintiff partial Summq Judg-nent on the issue of liability against the defandants, and for such other further and different reliefas the Court may deem just and proper. 1 of 13

2 FACTS Defeñdants do not dispute plaintiff's version ofthe facts ofthis case, as set forth in plaintiff's moving papers and papers in opposition to the cross-motion made by defendant INFINITY-XERXES 1464 LLC ("INFINITY"), so there is no need to restate them here. CON ED NOTICE NOT REQUIRED The issue raised by CON ED, in its opposition papers, whether it received "notice" of the dangerous condition, is truly a "smoke screen" put out to avoid liability for the happening of the accident because there is no notice requirement where the defendant created the defective condition. See Ohañêssian v. Chase Madanan Realty Leasing Corporation, 193 A.D.2d 567 Dept., 1993); Giardina v. Lee, 202 A.D.2d 278 Dept., 1994); Septoff v. La Shelida Maintenance Corp., 242 A.D.2d 618 (2nd Dept., 1997); Keyes v. James A. Jerming Co., Inc., 150 A.D.2d 758 (2"d Dept., 1989); Abato v. County of Nassau, 65 A.D.3d 1268 (2nd Dept., 2009). It is an unassailable fact in this litigation, that CON ED placed the electric cables across the sidewalk and into INFINITY's cellar through its sidewalk doors which it propped open with an orange block. It is an equally üñassailable fact that the electric cables entering the cellar doors pre-ented a tripping hazard, as testified by CON ED's own witness Shane Alexander, at his deposition. These facts are also conceded by INFINITY, who further argued in its opposition papers at Paragraph 11, that plaintiff proved a prima facie case of negligence against CON ED. The Courts have uniformly held that where, as in the instant matter, the defendant admittedly created the hazardous condition, notice is neither a defense, nor an element of plaintiff's case. In Giardiña, supra, plaintiff alleged her heel became stuck in a piece of lumber left on a sidewalk, causing her to fall. Plaintiff observed the construction for a year prior to the accident. 2 of 13

3 Defendat, however, moved for summary judgment, claiming that there was no proof of notice of the existence of the debris on which plaintiff fell. The Appellate Division, First Department, in affirmiñg the lower court decisioñ denying defendet s --ry judgment, held the issue of notice irrelevant, because liability attaches to those in control of the premises when they created the condition giving rise to the injury. Similarly, in Ohanacia, supra, plaintiff slipped and fell on Christmas garland which allegedly slipped offa banister and onto the stairs plaintiftwas descendiñg. Again, defendant moved for summerf judgment claiming lack of notice, which was denied by the lower court and affirmed by the Appellate Division, holding: "The only basis on which liability may be predicated is that 'created' 'irrelevant' defendants the condition, rendering and inquiry notice'." into 'the usual questions of In Septoff, supra, plaintiff was injured when she slipped and fell on a recently waxed floor. At trial, the lower court instructed the jury that the defendant could be found negligent if its employees created the dangerous condition and had notice of that condition, which resulted in a verdict for the defcñdañt. The Appellate Division, reversing the judgment, held that the instruction to thejury was incorrect "because there is no notice requirement where the defendâñt has created the dangerous condition." In Keyes, supra, plaintiff slipped on constructioñ debris while descending stairs. The trial court, at the close of evidence, dismissed plaintiff's case citing the lack of notice, and the Appellate Division, reversed, holding: "With respect to the question of notice, if indeed it is demonstrated that the defendant created a dangerous condition on the stairway, case." notice need not be established as an element of the plaintiff's 3 of 13

4 Similarly, in Abato, supra, plaintiff, while atteñdiñg a hockey game, was injured by other spectators attempting to retrieve a souvêñir T-shirt that was throwñ into the stands. The Appellate Division, in affirming the lower court decision denying defendants motion for summary judgment, held: "Moreover, since the appellants created the circumstances that allegedly led to the plaintiff's injuries, their lack of notice is not a defense." The facts in the inctant matter are even more compelling than the facts in Chañessian, supra; Giardina, supra; Septoff, supra; Keyes, supra; and Abato, supra., because here, CON ED admits that the condition it created was hazardous, and INFINITY agrees. DUTY TO INSPECT Assuming argueñdo, that notice is an issue in this matter, CON ED failed to timely and regularly inspect the subject site. In fact the last time it visited the site before the accident, was on November 4, 2015, which was 9 ½ weeks before the incident occurred (See Plaintiff's Moving Papers, Exhibit "9" and Exhibit "7", Deposition Testimonyof Shane Alexander, Pg. 82, Lines 19-25, Pg. 83, Lines 1-23). Plaintiff ANNE ELLINGTON testified at her deposition that she was at the site approximately 1 week prior to the accident, and it was in the same condition as on the date of the accident (See Affidavit of Anne Ellington, Attached Hereto, and Exhibit "11", Depositioñ of Anne Ellington, Pg. 20, Lines 21-25, Pg. 21, Lines 1-20, Pg. 27, Lines 11-19; Pg. 28, Lines 1-7). Plaintiff's un-rebutted testimony, is proves that defendants had constructive notice of the condition, if needed. NonethAcc, CON ED, chooses to ignore plaintiff's testimony and asks this Court or a jury to engage in rank speculation about the length of time the condition existed. 4 of 13

5 CON ED's witness Shane Alexander, testified that CON ED, pursuant to its permit from the New York City Department of Transportation, performed weekly inspections to the subject site, to insure that it was safe, and that the barricades were erect and protecting the tripping hazard created by the open cellar doors (Plaintiff's Moving Papers, Exhibit "7", Deposition of Shane Alexander, Pg. 29, Lines 16-25, Pg. 30, Lines 1-17). Following the deposition of Shane Alexander, the transcript was sent to CON ED for any changes to the testimony, however, it was never returned or corrected. Nonetheless, counsel for CON ED, in its papers in opposition to plaintiff's motion, claims that Shane Alexander was "mistaken" in his beliefthat CON ED was mandated by the Department of Transportation to perform weekly inspections. Defense counsel, cannot change the testimony of its witness at this time, or at any time. Any char.gas to the testimony had to come from the witness and not from counsel, and the time to make any changes has long since passed. Counsel, who has no personal knowledge of the facts, and without providing any evidence admicaible on a motion for summazy judgment, also claims that the weekly inspections are "internal Con Edison practices and procedures". It was incumbent upon CON ED to provide admisible evidence, vis a vis, a copy of its internal rules and an affidavit from an employee of CON ED, with personal knowledge exphiñing them, to prove that the inspections are indeed internal practices. This claim, absent any admissible proof whatsoever, has no merit and should not be considered on this motion for summary judgment. Nonetheless, CON ED, without citing any case law or statutory authority, elaims that "Notwithetr Æñg, that no such inspection occurred for approximately 4 weeks leading up to 5 of 13

6 plaintiff's incident date, the inspection practiceis internal and self-imposed, and transcends the duty of care in this type of negligence case." To begin with, the Court of Appeals has held, that internal rules are admissible and may be considered by a jury as evideñcc of the standard ofreasonable care. See Kush v. City of Buffalo, 59 N.Y.2d 26 (1983); Clarke v. New York City Transit AuthoIity, 174 A.D.2d 268 Dept., 1992). It is only where the rules require a higher standard of care than what is reasonable, where they are inadmissible. That, however, is not the case in the instant matter. As per the documentary evidence (See Plaintiff's Moving Papers, Exhibit "9"), and the testimony of Shane Alexander (See Plaintiff's Moving Papers, Exhibit "7", Deposition Testimony of Shane Alexander, Pg. 82, Lines 19-25, Pg. 83, Lines 1-23), the last inspection of the subject site prior to the accident was on November 4, 2015, and the accident occurred on January 18, Consequently, CON ED had not inspected the site for 9 ½ weeks, leading up to the accident, not 4 weeks as stated by counsel. CON ED is therefore üñable to tell this Court or any jury, that during the 9 ½ weeks leading up the accident, the barricades were not on their sides and unassembled as they were on the date of the accident. CON ED, without providing any statutory law or case law to show what frequency the site should have been inspected, argues that its internal rules are inadmissable on this motion because they impose a higher standard than what is required by a reasonable care standard. Pursuant to Rules of the City of New York, 34 RCNY 2-07, and the prevailing case law cited in plaintiff's moving papers, CON ED had a duty to insure that insure that the subject site was safe for the general public as well as the plaintiff to traverse. That duty was heightened by the fact that CON ED created the defective condition, which in addition to the tripping hazard, included exposed live wires, and it is therefore charged with notice of it. In light of this fact, CON ED's 6 of 13

7 argument that its internal rules are more stringent that what is required by the standed of care, rings hollow. _S_eeLopez v. Dagan, 98 A.D.3d 436, 949 N.Y.S.2d 671, Dept., 2012); Wasserstrom v. New York City Tr. Auth., 267 A.D.2d 36, 699 N.Y.S.2d 378 (l" Dept., 1999); Allen v. Pearson Publ. Empire, 256 A.D.2d 528, 683 NY.S.2d 100 (2"d Dept., 1998); Graubart v. Laro Maintenance, 244 A.D.2d 457, 64 N.Y.S.2d 116 (2nd 99 In the case at bar, CON ED intentionally created the defective condition which iñcluded a tripping hazard and exposed live electrical cables. Under those circumstances, it would be within the standard of care for CON ED to inspect the site on a weekly basis to insure that it was safe, which it did up until 2 months prior to the accident. Somehow, CON ED, without citing any authority or proof, claims that it satisfied "its" standard of care by erecting the shunt and properly placing the barricades in a fashion which made it safe for pedestrians, as proven by the fact that no other pedestrians were injured at the site prior to the plaintiff. Luck, however, is not a recognized standard of care, and the fact that no one was hurt at the site previously (and there is no such proof presented), did not relieve CON ED of its duty to maintain the sidewalk in a safe condition the entire time its equipment remained there. CON ED also complains that it could not be expected to post a worker on site to insure integrity of the shunt on a 24-hour basis. If CON ED believed that posting a worker would be the only way to insure the integrity of the site, then that it clearly breached the standard of care, since that was what was required under the circumstances. Viewed another way, CON ED's method of securing the site was clearly inadequate for the task at hand, since the barricades were easily moved or knocked over. More to the point, the reason why CON ED inspected the site on a weekly basis, was precisely because the barricades were easily moved or knocked over, thereby exposing pedestrians to a tripping hazard or electrocution. 7 of 13

8 If CON ED did not want to inspect the site as frequently, it should have installed a more secure barrier, which could not be removed. CON ED, however, admits in its opposition papers, that it never expected to remain at the site for very long, and the reason why it remained on location for such an inordinate period of time (1 year and 4 months), is because INFINITY delayed hiring the experts or performing the work needed to permanently restore power to the buildiñg. However, this was no surprise to CON ED, who sent periodic letters between July, 2015 and January, 2016, threatening to discontinue the temporary power iflnfinity didn't make the necessaryrepairs. (See Plaintiff's Moving Papers, Exhibit "8", Letters to Infinity). At some point prior to the subject accident, CON ED should have realized that the condition was not as temporary as it anticipated, and if it was not going to inspect the site weekly, then it should have installed a more reliable or significant structure which was not easily disassembled or relocated. Finally, CON ED does not place any blame upon the plaintiff for the accident or injuries she sustained, so those issues need not be addressed in these reply papers. INFINITY Defendant INFINITY, is responsible for the happening of the accident and plaintiff's resulting injuries, for the same reason that render CON ED responsible. SPECIAL USE It is beyond dispute that CON ED ran the electric cables across the sidewalk and into INFINITY's cellar for the sole benefit of INFINITY, who was without electric power due to problem with its electric system. The Court of Appeals, and the Appellate Division, First Department, have held an abutting property owner responsible if they create the defect or use the sidewalk for a special purpose such as when an appurtenance is installed for its benefit or at its request, contemplating a purpose 8 of 13

9 different from that of the general public. Sge Tyree v. Seneca Center-Home Attendant Program. h, 260 A.D.2d 297 (l" Dept., 1999); Kaufman v. Silver, 90 N.Y.2d 204, 659 N.Y.S.2d 250, 681 N.E.2d 417 (1997); Hernandez v. Ortiz, 165 N.Y.3d 559 Dept., 2018); Balsam v. Delma Ene'g Corp., 139 AD2d 292 Dept 1988). Defendant, citing Doyley v. Steiner, 107 A.D.3d 517 Dept., 2013), incorrectly claims that it had no responsibility for insuring the subject site because the "shunt" and "orange block", were "electrical equipment", within the ambit of 34 RCNY 2-20(a)(2) or 34 RCNY 2-20(a)(7), which it was prohibited from touching. The Court in Doyley, supra, however, rejected the argument that shunts and their appurtenances were electrical equipment, holding: "nothing in the rules appears to have prohibited the property owners from taking steps to warn pedestrians about the hazards posed by the shunts in a manner that did not involve working within three feet of 'interfering' respect." them or with them in any In any event, INFINITY's attempt to alter the holding in Doyley, supra, to relieve it of liability, falls flat since neither the shunt or the orange block ñeeded to be "touched" in this case. All INFINITY needed to do was to inspect the site and insure that the barricades remained standing in their proper location. INFINITY could have done this either by moving the barricades themselves or by contacting CON ED. It is notable, that INFINITY, at Paragraph 14 of its opposition papers, admits that pursuañt to Doyley. supra, even if the shunt and its appurtenances are "electrical equipment" within the ambit of 34 RCNY 2-20(a)(2) or 34 RCNY 2-20(a)(7), it still would not be relieved of its obligation to warn the plaintiff about the dangerous condition. That statement, in and ofitself, supports eneman 9 of 13

10 judgment in favor of the plaintiff, because INFINITY never warned the plaintiffabout the dangerous condition. INFINITY also tries to make hay out of Shane Alexander's testimeñy that the barricades should not be touched. That testimony was given in the context of whether the barricades should be moved from their position protecting the cellar doors, and not whether they should be restored to their proper location. (See Plaintiff's Moving Papers, Exhibit "3", Depositicñ of Alex Landau, Pg.129, Line 25, Pg. 130, Lines 1-24). OPEN AND OBVIOUS INFINITY also argues that the hazardous condition was "open and obvious", rendering plaintiff entirely responsible for the injuries she sustained. Taking that argument to its illegical conclusioñ, if the condition was open and obvious, then why did CON ED need to place barricades around it and inspect it weekly? In any event, as admitted by INFINITY at paragraph 5 of its opposition papers, plaintiff testified that she never saw the tripping hazard before she fell. (See Affidavit of Anne Ellington Appended Hereto, and Exhibit Pg. 65, Lines 22-25, Pg. 66, Lines 1-2). Moreover, as set forth in plaintiff's papers in opposition to INFINITY's cross motion for summary judg-nent, the cases cited by INFINITY in support of its "open and obvious" argument, have as much to do with the case at bar, as do cases involving automobile accidents. The "sole proximate cause" bar imposed by "open and obvious" claims are reserved for those cases, as cited by INFINITY, where the plaintiff puts his hand inside a snowblower chute (Sorrentino v. Pagañica.. 18 A.D.3d 858 (2nd Dept., 2005) and Donuk v. Sears. Roebuck & Co., 52 A.D.3d 456 (2"d Dept., 2008), or dove into the shallow end of a pool (Moscatielle v. Wyde True Value Lumber & Supply 10 of 13

11 Corp A.D.3d 833 (2"d Dept., 2019)). In those cases, the plaintiff's conduct was reckless or extraordinary, and plaintiff recognized the danger and chose to disregard it. See Powers, supra. Inded, the Appellate Division, First Department has refused to find a plaintiff the sole proximate cause of his injuries in the most egregious cases, such as Powers v. 31 E 31 LLC, 123 A.D.3d 423 Dept., 2014), cited by INFINITY, where an intoxicated plaintiff climbed out an apartment window and fell off a roof. Since plaintiff's conduct never rose to the level of the conduct of the plaintiffs in the cases cited by INFINITY, its <usument that plaintiff is the sole proximate cause of her own injuries is wholly without any merit of the Administrative Code of the City of New York INFINITY, is subject to of the M=!=!±ative Code of the City of New York, whereby building owners owe a nondelegable duty to maintain abutting sidewälis in a "reasoñãbly safe condition". In fact, INFINITY coñcedes as much at Paragraph 11 of its opposition papers moving papers. That duty goes hand in glove with the legal presumption that a pedestrian may assume that a sidewãlk is mm= =ª=M in proper condition and therefore safe to walk upon. S_ee LGwcñstein v. Normandy Group, LLC, 51 A.D.3d 517 (l" Dept., 2008), where Appellate Division, First Department held that it is proper to charge ajury,"that a pedestrian may assume that a sidewalk is kept in proper condition". See also Weiskopf v. City of New York, 5 A.D.3d 202 (l" Dept., 2004). NOTICE INFINITY also argues that lack of notice about the üüasseiñbled barricades, relieves it of liability. As stated earlier, INFINITY, as well as CON ED, created the dangerous condition. 11 of 13

12 Consequently, notice is not an element required to hold INFINITY responsible for the happening of the accident. In any event, INFINITY adminedly did nothing to make sure that its sidewalk was in reasonably safe condition, as required by of the Administrative Code of the City of New York. INFINITY performed no inspections of its sidewalk, nor did it engage anyone on its behalf to do so. Instead, it relied upon CON ED to secure the site. Pursuant to the holding in Doyley, supra, that reliance was misplaced, because INFINITY owed a separate duty to the plaintiff to make sure that its sidewalk was safe for the plaintiff to walk. Hence, If INFINITY believes that it was entitled to notice, but had none, it is only because it failed to perform its duty. Rodriguez v. City of New York, 31 N.Y.3d 312, (2018) Neither CON ED nor INFINITY dispute plaintiff's argument in her moving papers that even if the court determines that plaintiff's own conduct may have contributed to the happañing of the accident, she would still be entitled to eumman judg-ñeat on the issue of liability despite the fact that her own comparative negligence might remain an open question. lee Rodriguez v. City ofnew M, 31 N.Y.3d 312, (2018). Consequently, there is no need to discuss it further in these papers. CONCLUSION Plaintiff's moving papers have proven plaintiff's entitlement to summan judgment on the issue ofliability, thereby shifting the burden to the defendants. Defcad=nts CON ED and INFINITY, failed to carry their burden or shift it back to the plaintiff. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion should be granted. 12 of 13

13 WHEREFORE, it is respectfully requested that the within motion be denied in its entirety, together with such other further and different relief that this Court may deem just and proper. Dated: New York, New York April 17, 2019 S H. S 13 of 13