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Slip and Fall on Ice - Lack of Notice Prevented Injured Party from Recovery


Slip and Fall injuries can be catastrophic. New York winter months can cause icy and dangerous conditions on public and private property. Icy pavement is a condition hazardous to pedestrians and motorists alike. What is sometimes known as "Black Ice" can cause motorists to slide off the road, sometimes causing serious injuries from car accidents. This slip and fall on ice occurs in Nassau County.

This Nassau County Slip and Fall is prevented from moving forward because of a notice requirement. Remember this general guideline - anytime you wish to recover money from a municipal entity, it is likely that the entity must be provided with some sort of notice prior to suit otherwise you may be barred from recovering money, compensation, for your injuries. The facts of the case are clear:

On the evening of January 28, 2012, the plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell on ice in front of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola. The accident occurred on the landing between two sets of exterior steps leading to the building entrance. The plaintiff subsequently commenced this action against the County of Nassau. Following discovery, the County moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that it had not received prior written notice of the alleged icy condition at the accident location as required by Nassau County Administrative Code § 12-4.0 (e). In opposition to the motion, the plaintiff argued that the County could not require prior written notice of the icy condition on the landing of an exterior stairway because it was not a location enumerated in General Municipal Law § 50-e (4).

Municipal entities are treated differently from regular premises owners. The Court states the law, that "Where a local government has enacted a prior written notice statute, it may not be subjected to liability for injuries caused by an improperly maintained street or sidewalk unless it has received prior written notice of the defect, or an exception to the written notice requirement applies" (citing Amabile v City of Buffalo, 93 NY2d 471, 473-474 [1999]; Abreu-Lopez v Incorporated Vil. of Freeport, 142 AD3d 515 [2016]; Kelley v Incorporated Vil. of Hempstead, 138 AD3d 931, 933 [2016]; Williams v Town of Smithtown, 135 AD3d 854 [2016])). Accordingly, Nassau County needs to have written notice of the defect, absent an exception, before a Plaintiff can recover in such an injury lawsuit.

The Court holds that "the County established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting the affidavit of a County employee, which indicated that she had conducted a search of the relevant records covering a five-year period prior to the date of the accident, and found no written notice of any dangerous or defective conditions at the accident site." (citations omitted). As the Plaintiff failed to rebut the affidavit from the county employee, the Plaintiff was barred from recovery and the County prevailed insofar as the grant of summary judgment was affirmed in this appeal.

Should you be injured or have a friend or family member who has suffered an injury, call the Law Offices of Cory H. Morris: 631-450-2515. Whether it be a Nassau County Slip and Fall or a New York City Accident, the office offers a free evaluation of your matter and recognize the exceptions that may bar you from compensation for your injuries.

The case is Walker v. Nassau County, 2017 NY Slip Op 00683 [147 AD3d 806] (2d Dep't. Feb 1, 2017)


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