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Alleged negligent failure to maintain and repair sliding glass doors in shower of apartment unit - Plaintiff allegedly struck by loose railing on top of door and falls through shower door.

Kings County, New York

The female plaintiff apartment tenant, age 27 at the time, brought this action against the defendant landlord of the apartment building where she resided as a tenant, alleging that the defendant failed to repair the glass shower doors, which repeatedly caused her difficulty in opening and closing. The plaintiff alleged that she was injured due to the defendant’s negligent failure to repair the doors.

The plaintiff contended that a few years after she moved into the defendant’s building, she began experiencing difficulties with opening and closing the sliding glass shower doors and that although she had made complaints, no steps were taken to rectify the difficulties. The plaintiff contended that approximately three to four months after she first complained, she reached for a towel that she had draped over the metal railing at the top of the door and that the rail detached, striking her in the back of the neck and resulting in her losing her balance and falling through the glass doors.

The defendant landlord denied any notice. The evidence also disclosed that some three days before the incident occurred, the plaintiff had sent a written complaint to the Department of Housing Preservation, and the defendant denied that it had been apprised of such complaint as of the time of the incident.

The defendant also contended that the plaintiff’s version of the incident was inherently implausible. The defendant maintained p 7 3 that if the top rail fell while the plaintiff was reaching for a towel, it probably would have struck her in the face and not the back of the neck and would have propelled her backwards into the tub, rather than forwards through the glass door. The defendant also contended that there was no evidence of prior difficulties with the railing and that in view of the evidence that the detachment of the railing precipitated the incident, it was clear that it should not be liable.

The jury found 5-1 that the defendant was not negligent.

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