October 15, 2018

DSB won a motion for summary judgment in a premises case involving a school district in Suffolk County where the plaintiff slipped and fell on a wooden, rustic set of stairs built into the side of a hill at the very back of school property which leads into a wooded area and adjoining neighborhood. It was raining at the time of the accident and the stairs were wet. The stairs did not have a handrail. Plaintiff had gone up the steps to walk her dog. In the process of going back down the steps, the plaintiff fell and sustained a left comminuted radial fracture and ulnar styloid fracture of the wrist with open reduction and internal fixation. The basis of the motion for summary judgment was that the exterior steps were wet due to rainfall and the naturally occurring condition did not constitute a dangerous or defective condition. Further, there was no applicable building code which required a handrail for an exterior set of stairs that was not otherwise affixed to a building or structure. The court determined that plaintiff’s opposition failed to raise triable issue of fact and granted summary judgment to the school district.