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Premises Liability – Hazardous Premises – Plaintiff contends raised screw near bottom of Port Authority stairway causes trip and fall – Ankle fracture – Surgeries to install and remove hardware.

New York County, NY

The plaintiff, approximately 30, contended that the defendant Port Authority negligently failed to detect and repair a raised screw on the next to bottom interior step during its inspection and maintenance procedures. The plaintiff maintained that as a result, she tripped and fell as she was descending. The defendant denied that any condition was present.

The defendant pointed out that a Port Authority police officer came to the scene and that there was no evidence that the plaintiff complained about a screw at the time or that such a condition was noted by the officer. The plaintiff, who was not certain as to the cause of the fall at the time, indicated that she returned approximately two weeks later and took photographs reflecting the presence of an approximate one-quarter inch raised screw.

The defendant denied that one could determine from the photograph that it was taken at the location claimed or within the property controlled by the defendant. The defendant also maintained that if a condition was present, it was deminimis, did not result in the fall, and that the failure of the plaintiff to walk more carefully was the cause.

The plaintiff suffered an ankle fracture and required initial surgery and the insertion of hardware. The hardware was subsequently removed in a second surgery. The plaintiff maintained that she will permanently suffer pain and limitations. The plaintiff, who works in the music industry, was able to return. The plaintiff contended, however, that she has been limited in the extent to which she can continue the portion of her duties entailing scouting bands at night.The jury found for the defendant.

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