Potential Playground Hijinx Lead to Dismissal of Case Dismissal for NYCHA (NY)
In Wilson v. New York City Housing Authority, the plaintiff, a minor, allegedly was injured when he slipped and fell off a wet playground equipment on a playground owned by the New York City Housing Authority (hereinafter NYCHA). The infant plaintiff slipped and fell when he climbed on the second step of a ladder which led to monkey bars. The plaintiffs allege that a built-in sprinkler, which shot water into the air for children to play in, was located in too close a proximity to the monkey bars and that this proximity caused the wind to blow water from the sprinkler onto the equipment. The lower court denied NYCHA’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that there was a question of fact as to NYCHA’s creation of this alleged dangerous condition.
However, on appeal, the Second Department reversed the lower court’s decision on the grounds that the manner by which the water got on the handlebars was speculative. Plaintiff at his deposition stated immediately before he went on the ladder to the monkey bars, two children who were wet from playing in the sprinkler climbed on the ladder. The Appellate Court reasoned that the wet children who preceded the infant plaintiff on the ladder, it would require impermissible speculation to conclude that the water on which the infant plaintiff slipped was caused by the proximity of the sprinkler to the monkey bars. Since there was a reason given for plaintiff’s fall, the Appellate Court ruled that NYCHA’s motion should have been granted.Thanks to Paul Vitale for his contribution to this post. Please email Georgia Coats with any questions.