Even Trivial Defects are Hazardous When They are “Trap-Like.”

In Shane v. Supernova New York Realty LLC, plaintiff tripped and fell on a step when his boot got caught in a space where two pieces of granite joined to form the step.  The two pieces of granite had a height differential of approximately one-half inch.  Defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that the defect was trivial.  In opposition, plaintiff submitted an affidavit from a human factors expert that stated that the defect was the type that could cause a person to catch his shoe.  That coupled with the fact that it was located in a heavily trafficked area that was not well-lit, caused the defect to become a “trap.”  The court held that the half inch height differential was “trivial” as a matter of law, however since the defect had characteristics rendering it “trap-like,” summary judgment was denied.

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