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Metro Cards - A Dangerous Condition in NY Subways?


April 17, 2012 at 4:56:14 PM

The First Department recently affirmed the New York County Supreme Court dismissal of plaintiff's complaint, which stemmed from a slip-and-fall at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station. Plaintiff claimed to have injured herself one morning when she slipped on MetroCards that had been discarded on the ground and sustained personal injuries.
As many of us are well aware, after realizing their MetroCards are empty, far too many people fail to use garbage cans and simply discard their cards on the floors of subway stations. At 9am on an average weekday morning, when this accident happened, it would be common to see several dozen discarded MetroCards on the ground adjacent to the turnstiles. Presumably, plaintiff argued that this phenomenon would have been sufficient to place the NYCTA on constructive notice of a dangerous condition, thereby defeating summary judgment against her.
The First Department disagreed in <em><a href="">Harrison v. NYCTA</a></em>. Notwithstanding the fact that strewn MetroCards were a "recurrent condition" at this and other stations, the Transit Authority demonstrated that a "reasonable cleaning routine was established and followed." Their employee testified that she cleaned the station every morning, including that morning, and swept up all the MetroCards every few hours. In essence, just because the NYCTA was on notice of the MetroCard condition, the fact they they had protocols in place to address that condition made summary judgment appropriate.
Thank you to Brian Gibbons for his contribution.

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