On May 11, 1995, as she was exiting the premises of the State University of New
York Health Science Center at 445 Lennox Road, Brooklyn, the claimant Irma
Rudnick fell down several steps outside the building. She seeks to hold the
defendant liable for her injuries, which, it is alleged, were caused by the
condition of the pavement where she fell, located at the top of the steps,
leading from one level of a plaza area to another.
The condition of the pavement was described by the
as being cracked, broken, and disintegrating. Five photographs, taken the day
after her accident, confirm her description. At the time of the accident, the
claimant had been employed for eight years as an office manager by the Research
Foundation of New York, which was located in the Health Science Center Building.
She testified that she had exited the building the same way every day for over a
year, and occasionally before that, and that she was aware of the condition of
the pavement, which had existed during the time she worked there. According to
her testimony, repairs had been attempted on several occasions over the years,
the most recent being approximately a month before she fell, but that the
The claimant testified that, on May 11, 1995 in the afternoon, as she reached
the top of the steps, and reached for the railing, her foot became caught in the
loose pavement, causing her to fall down five steps.
While the State has a duty of reasonable care to maintain its premises in a
reasonably safe condition (
Basso v Miller
, 40 NY2d 233, 241), negligence cannot be inferred solely
from the occurrence of an accident (Mochen v State of New York
, 57 AD2d
719, 720). Before there can be liability there must be proof of a dangerous
condition which was the proximate cause of the injury, and that the defendant
had notice of the condition.
Based upon the claimant's testimony, which the Court found credible, and the
five photographs of the location of the accident, which were received in
evidence, it is evident that a dangerous condition existed, and that repairs had
been attempted at some time, so that the defendant had notice of the
But, claimant must also be held partially
It has long been the law of this State that a person is bound to see what, with
proper use of one's senses, should have been seen. Weigand v United Traction
, 221 NY 39; Jimenez v Urban Universal Structures, Inc
174 AD2d 604, 605. By her own account, the claimant had safely traversed the
same area on nearly a daily basis for at least a year, and on an occasional
basis over a period of several years, during which time she was aware of the
condition of the pavement.
In view of the foregoing, the Court finds the defendant 75% liable for
See, Kiett v New York City Housing Authority
, 255 AD2d 422,
The issue of damages will be set down for trial upon the filing of a note of
issue and certificate of readiness pursuant to Rule 206.12 of the Uniform Rules
for the Court of Claims.
LET INTERLOCUTORY JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.