In Gutierrez v. Broad Fin. Ctr., LLC, the First Department revisited the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Gutierrez allegedly sustained injuries when she tripped and fell while exiting an elevator that had misleveled three inches below the floor of the building. The building owner was granted summary judgment on the basis that it did not create or have knowledge of the allegedly hazardous condition, but the elevator maintenance repair contractor was not so lucky. In affirming the lower court’s denial of the elevator contractor’s motion for summary judgment, the First Department held that the plaintiff had a viable negligence claim under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. That is, the alleged misleveling of the elevator is not an event that ordinarily occurs in the absence of negligence. Since the elevator contractor had exclusive control over the inspection, maintenance and repair of the subject elevator, the plaintiff had a viable cause of action against the contractor.
Thanks to Lora Gleicher for her contribution to this post.