PHA Not Responsible for Resident's Fall on Black Ice
Facts: A resident sued the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and its contractor for negligence after slipping and falling on black ice on the walkway in front of her building. NYCHA and its contractor, which had installed a sidewalk shed in front of the building, asked the court to dismiss the case. The court refused, finding a trial was needed to determine the facts. NYCHA and the contractor appealed.
Ruling: The appeals court ruled for NYCHA and the contractor, and dismissed the case.
Reasoning: At pretrial questioning, the resident had stated that she didn't notice any ice or hazardous conditions on the walkway before she fell. After she fell, she claimed that the area was covered by black ice and, while she sat for 20 minutes, she saw moisture coming down from the side of the shed put up by the contractor. A NYCHA employee said that, when he found the resident, there was a small patch of barely visible black ice as well as some water dripping from the ceiling or roof of the shed. The court ruled that the resident's own description was insufficient to prove that any defect in the shed was the cause of the ice patch on the sidewalk. There also was no proof that NYCHA knew or should have known that there was black ice or that it created the condition, the court said. Therefore, the case was dismissed.
- Slater v. NYCHA, December 2010