Plaintiff Allowed To Take Swing against City For Fall at Citi Field (NY)
In Henn v. City of New York, Sterling Mets, et. al, plaintiff allegedly sustained injuries as a result of tripping and falling upon the sidewalk abutting Citi Field on July 6, 2014. Plaintiff alleges that defendants were responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk and created the defective condition of the sidewalk. Defendants moved to dismiss under 3211(a)(7) – failure to state a cause of action. The lower Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss and the defendants appealed.
The Appellate Division Second Department concurred with the lower court and ruled that defendants did not reach their burden to dismiss. The sole criterion on a 3211(a)(7) motion is whether the factual allegations articulated in the four corners of the complaint itself manifest any cognizable cause of action. “When determining a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the facts as alleged in the complaint as true, accord plaintiffs the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory.”
The Second Department held that the documentary evidence submitted by the ballpark defendants in support of their motion failed to conclusively establish a defense as a matter of law. Further, the ballpark defendants failed to establish conclusively that the plaintiff had no cause of action. That the complaint alleged the ballpark defendants owned, operated, managed, maintained, or controlled the subject sidewalk upon which the plaintiff was injured was sufficient to go forward on a cause of action and the documentary evidence submitted by the ballpark defendants—a “Stadium Lease Agreement” and a “First Amendment to Stadium Lease Agreement” – was insufficient to show they did not own, operate, manage or control the subject sidewalk and therefore, was insufficient to provide a basis for dismissal under that subsection.
The case was allowed to move forward to discovery and depositions of all parties.Thanks to Paul W. Vitale for his contribution to this post.