Open and Obvious Does Not Necessarily Result in Dismissal

In Sweeny v. Riverbay Corp., the First Department reversed the lower court’s order that granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff tripped and fell over a garden hose that had been placed across the sidewalk in front of a building that the defendant managed. Although the evidence established that the hose was an open and obvious hazard, the First Department held that there remained a question as to whether the defendant breached its duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Specifically, the record established that the hose might have been left on the sidewalk for a long enough period of time to establish notice. Thus, even if a condition is open and obvious, a defendant still has a duty to remove and/or remedy the condition once placed on notice of the hazard.

Thanks to Lora Gleicher for her contribution to this submission.