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Premises liability - Plaintiff trips and falls on uneven sidewalk - Injuries to left humerus requiring surgery - Defendant argues validity of Big Apple Map as notice of defect.

Queens County

The 72-year-old female plaintiff contended that she tripped and fell over an uneven section of sidewalk in Queens sustaining injuries to her leg. She brought suit against both the City of New York and the owners of the property in front of the section of sidewalk where she fell. The plaintiff contended that the City had prior notice of the defect as reflected on the Big Apple Map, yet failed to repair the defect. The defendant City argued that the map did not constitute actual notice of the alleged defect because of the large amount of defects shown on the map.

This plaintiff, a publisher’s clerk, testified that she tripped over an uneven section of sidewalk on the southwest corner of the intersection of 48th street and 53rd Avenue in Queens on Sept. 15, ________, in front of Brown Maspeth Realty, Inc. and North Shore Neon Sign Co.

The plaintiff alleged that she sustained injuries to her left humerus which required surgery and she sought $________ in a suit against the City of New York and the two businesses. The businesses were excluded from the lawsuit because at the time of the accident, the New York City Administrative Code stated that only after Sept. 15, ________ could a property owner be held liable for the condition of the sidewalk in front of their property.

The plaintiff contended that the remaining defendant City of New York was negligent in failing to repair the sidewalk and subsequently left it in a dangerous condition. The plaintiff’s expert engineer testified that the height differential in the sidewalk extended one and one-quarter inches and that it indeed constituted a tripping hazard. During his testimony, this expert also showed enlarged photos of the sidewalk to the jury.

The defendant argued that the sidewalk was reasonably safe and that the plaintiff was responsible for the accident as she had been walking that stretch of sidewalk for 17 years and had probably walked that sidewalk more than ________ times in the past. The defendant additionally contended that prior written notice of the alleged defect was not given. The plaintiff argued that prior notice was served upon the defendant through the Big Apple Map, a map of detailed markings of defects in the sidewalks and curbs throughout New York City that is served on the Department of Transportation annually. The defendant claimed that the map did not actually constitute notice since there are thousands of defects listed on the map.

The jury found for the defendant.

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