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Premises Liability – Inadequate Lighting – Plaintiff tenant of two family home trips and falls over wooden edging near a walkway – Liability only.

Suffolk County, NY

The plaintiff tenant in the two-family home that was owned by the defendant, who also resided on the premises, contended that that the lighting in front of the home was inadequate, resulting in her tripping and falling over wooden edging next to the walkway. The plaintiff presented a friend and her divorced husband’s father, the grandfather of her children, and the witnesses contended that insufficient lighting had been present for an extended period. The defendant countered that the witnesses were referring to the side of the home and not the front where the incident occurred. The defendant chose not to cross-examine these witnesses.

The defendant contended that the site of the fall was well illuminated. The defendant testified that she had electricians come to the home to ensure that it was adequate. She admitted there had been a problem on the side of the home, for which she used electricians, but stressed that this was not where the alleged accident occurred. She also testified that she was never made aware of this subject incident until long after the date in question.

The defendant further elicited testimony from the plaintiff on cross-examination that she had not made prior complaints. The defendant also contended that that the plaintiff had a prior fall in close vicinity when there was greater light out, during dusk time. The defendant argued that the jury should consider that since she was living at the residence for nine years, and using that particular path for over six months, she was therefore very aware that is the landscaping question was present.The jury found five to one that there was no unsafe condition at the premises and did not reach the negligence or substantial factor issues.

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