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Case: Security Guard case against School for tumble down stairs dismissed by Appellate Division,  First Department

Counsel: Alice Spitz; Marcy Sonneborn

Headline: First Department Unanimously Finds School Not Liable to Security Guard.

Result: Case Dismissed

A security guard for the school was standing on an entry staircase talking with another guard. Video of the accident confirmed that she turned around, missed a step and fell down the stairs.  Plaintiff claimed that the stairs were slippery, that the handrail was wobbly and that there was a design defect based on the location of the stairs and the security desk.  The plaintiff sustained a left ankle fracture and had a Cervical fusion to C 5-6. The defense claimed that the video was dispositive, that there was nothing wrong with the stairs and the school had just been built and opened several months prior to the accident and was in pristine condition.  Plaintiff had previously demanded $3 million to settle. The offer was $3000.

Summary Judgement denial from the lower court was unanimously reversed by the Appellate Division, First Department.  The Appellate Court held that the  defendant established prima facie that plaintiff’s fall on a staircase in their building was not caused by negligence on their part; that the staircase handrail was stable and in any event did not contribute to her fall; that the design defect claim raised in opposition to summary judgment was not properly pled; and that the plaintiff’s expert’s report was speculative, conclusory and had no probative value.  Case dismissed.