Trivial Defects: A Bar to Plaintiff’s Recovery (NY)
In Speredowich v. Long Island Rail Road Company, the plaintiff commenced a personal injury action against defendant after the heel of her shoe got caught in a crack on a platform in Penn Station. The plaintiff fell and sustained injuries. At trial, the plaintiff testified that the crack was “approximately ½ inch wide, 9 to 12 inches long, and ¼ inch deep.”
Following plaintiff’s testimony, the Court granted defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law. The court determined that the crack was “trivial and non-actionable as a matter of law.”
The Appellate Division upheld the dismissal, noting that property owners may not be held liable for trivial defects that merely cause an individual to stumble, stub their toes or trip. Additionally, the Court noted that the trial judge has discretion to determine whether a trivial condition exists as a matter of law.
Thanks to Marysa Linares for her contribution to this post. Please contact Heather Aquino with any questions.