Fullerton Beck LLP associate Alexandra Sued prevailed on a summary judgment motion in a premises liability matter filed in Kings County Superior Court against the firm’s client, a scaffolding contractor, by establishing that the scaffold contractor did not cause and create the condition that caused the plaintiff to fall. 

The plaintiff, a woman who was visiting her daughter at the rehab facility, tripped and fell on scaffolding in the rear of the property. The plaintiff claimed the firm’s client negligently installed the scaffold in the rear of the building, which caused her to fall; however, the defendant was hired only to install the scaffold on the front of the building. 

The plaintiff argued that because the permit specified the job required 100 meters of tubing, and the plan included 120 meters, the extra 20 meters must have been installed in the back. To demonstrate the weakness of this theory, Alexandra argued that the contract clearly identified where the scaffold was to be installed and used an affidavit from her client in support of detailing their limited scope of work.  Further, the plaintiff argued that the scaffold in the rear of the premises and the front looked very similar; however, photographs of buildings throughout NYC with scaffolds all looked similar to the ones installed where the plaintiff fell, and that was a standard look for scaffolds in NYC. 

The owner, who was also a defendant in the case, filed an opposition to the firm’s motion, attempting to cast doubt related to his negligence in this matter, but was unable to support their opposition with anything substantive to refute the documentary evidence submitted in support of Fullerton Beck’s motion to dismiss.  We note that the company that was hired to install the scaffold on the rear of the building was in default for failure to appear. 

The Court granted Fullerton Beck’s motion for summary judgment while denying the building owner’s motion.