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Premises liability - Hazardous premises - Plaintiff allegedly slips and falls while descending the stairs after leaving the defendant bar - Defective installation of handrail alleged - Dislocation of shoulder - Labrum tear - Rotator cuff tear - 20% permanent loss of use of shoulder alleged.

New York County, NY

In this premises liability matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant bar owner and property owner were negligent in failing to properly affix a handrail which came loose when the plaintiff slipped and fell on the stairway, injuring his shoulder. The defendants denied the allegations and maintained that the handrail had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s slip and fall. The defendant contended that the plaintiff had been drinking and was inebriated which was the proximate cause of his fall.

On January 2, ________ the 24-year-old male plaintiff was a patron at the defendant bar. As he was leaving the bar and descending the stairway, he slipped. The plaintiff grabbed for the handrail which came loose, causing the plaintiff to fall. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained injuries to his shoulder. He was diagnosed with a dislocation of his shoulder, a tear of the labrum and a tear of the supraspinatus tendon, part of the rotator cuff. The plaintiff contended loss of 20% permanent loss of use of his shoulder.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant bar and the property owner alleging negligence in affixing the handrail to the building. The plaintiff alleged that the handrail was affixed to brick instead of wood and was not, therefore, properly secured. The plaintiff alleged that that handrail was not properly affixed to the building and came loose when he grabbed it to prevent his fall. The plaintiff alleged that the railing created a dangerous condition for patrons.

The defendants denied the allegations and maintained that there was nothing defective about the handrail. The defendants maintained that even if the handrail was loose, the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that the loose handrail was the proximate cause of the injuries to the plaintiff’s shoulder. The defendants further argued that the plaintiff had been drinking and his perception was impaired. The plaintiff denied the allegations of inebriation were true as the plaintiff had not even consumed a full glass of beer and was only at the tavern for several minutes before the incident occurred.

The matter was tried and the jury returned a verdict finding that the defendants were negligent. The jury, however, did not find that the defendants’ negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries, so a verdict was entered in favor of the defendants.

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