New York Courts recently held that a step riser in a shower stall in a gym locker room is not obvious and not dangerous. In <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Lore-v-Fitness-International-LLC.pdf">Lore v. Fitness International LLC</a> </em>, plaintiff tripped and fell on a tiled single-step riser while entering a shower stall in the locker room at defendant’s gym. The single-step riser was approximately 4.5 inches high but was tiled in the same color and pattern as the floor tiles.
In New York, the possessor has a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. However, there is no duty to protect against an open and obvious condition that is not inherently dangerous.
The Supreme Court granted the defendant gym’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the single-step riser was open and obvious and not inherently dangerous. On appeal, the Second Department reversed and concluded that defendant gym did not establish that the step riser was not inherently dangerous under the surrounding circumstances, including the lighting conditions at the time of the accident.
This decision will raise the bar on summary judgment when arguing open and obvious conditions. Circumstances surrounding the condition will need to be addressed in summary judgment arguments.
Thanks to Jennifer Tuz for her contribution to this post. Please contact Heather Aquino with any questions.