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Brian Connor Wins Summary Judgment In Premises Liability Case

March 21, 2019

Senior Associate, Brian Connor, obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client, a snow removal contractor who performed snow removal at the accident location on the evening before plaintiff’s accident. Plaintiff sought damages for serious injuries including an alleged brain injury and aggravation of a lower back disc fusion as the result of slipping and falling in the driveway of her Cooperative on February 10, 2017. Our client removed the snow at the premises on February 9, 2017.

Relying on the Court of Appeals decision in Espinal v. Melville Snow Contractors, Inc., 98 N.Y.2d 136 (2002), Brian argued that our client had no liability for the plaintiff’s injuries because it complied with the terms of its contract with the managing agent for the property and had no contractual relationship with the plaintiff. Our client never received any complaints regarding their snow removal and the representative of the managing agent testified that they were happy with our client’s performance under the contract.

In a decision dated March 19, 2019, the Honorable James P. McCormack of the Supreme Court, Nassau County held that our client established its prima facie entitlement to summary judgment by proffering sufficient evidence, including the testimony of the parties and an Affidavit from our client, that it fulfilled its obligations under the contract. The court held that none of the three Espinal exceptions applied as (1) our client did not launch a force or instrument of harm, (2) plaintiff did not detrimentally rely on the performance of our client’s performance, and (3) our client did not completely absorb the landowner’s duty to maintain the premises. As such, the Court granted Mr. Connor’s motion in its entirety, dismissing the plaintiff’s Complaint and all cross claims against our client only.

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