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Trincere v. County of Suffolk

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Oct 21, 1997
90 N.Y.2d 976 (N.Y. 1997)

Summary

holding that injuries resulting from trivial defects not actionable

Summary of this case from Cornelisse v. United States

Opinion

Argued September 11, 1997

Decided October 21, 1997

APPEAL from an order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department, entered October 7, 1996, which, with two Justices dissenting, affirmed a judgment of the Supreme Court (Marquette L. Floyd, J.), entered in Suffolk County, dismissing the complaint after granting a motion by defendant at close of evidence for judgment as a matter of law.

Trincere v County of Suffolk, 232 A.D.2d 400, affirmed.

Greshin, Ziegler Pruzansky, Smithtown ( Vincent M. Amicizia and Joel J. Ziegler of counsel), for appellant.

Robert J. Cimino, County Attorney of Suffolk County, Hauppauge ( Robert H. Cabble and W. Scott Schneider of counsel), for respondent.

Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek Shoot, New York City ( Brian J. Shoot, Robert E. Lahm and Harry Steinberg of counsel), for New York State Trial Lawyers Association, amicus curiae. Paul A. Crotty, Corporation Counsel of New York City ( Kristin M. Helmers and Alan G. Krams of counsel), for City of New York, amicus curiae. Frank V. Kelly, New York City, Andrew Zajac, John McDonough, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick and Carol R. Finocchio for Defense Association of New York, amicus curiae.


MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.

In the daylight hours of March 1991, plaintiff walked to the north side entrance of the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge, New York. She ascended the steps from the parking lot to a plaza area where she stumbled and fell over a cement slab that was elevated at an angle "a little over a half-inch above the surrounding paving slabs." The issue on this appeal is whether a defect consisting of a one-half inch elevation of a cement slab in the plaza area of a municipal building is nonactionable as a matter of law. We hold there is no "minimal dimension test" or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable. However, we conclude that the Appellate Division properly dismissed plaintiff's claim after its examination of all the facts and circumstances presented, including the dimension of the defect at issue.

There is no rule that municipal liability, in a case involving minor defects in the pavement, "turns upon whether the hole or depression, causing the pedestrian to fall, is four inches — or any other number of inches — in depth" ( Loughran v City of New York, 298 N.Y. 320, 321-322; Wilson v Jaybro Realty Dev. Co., 289 N.Y. 410, 412). Instead, whether a dangerous or defective condition exists on the property of another so as to create liability "`depends on the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case' and is generally a question of fact for the jury" ( Guerrieri v Summa, 193 A.D.2d 647 [citations omitted]). Of course, in some instances, the trivial nature of the defect may loom larger than another element. Not every injury allegedly caused by an elevated brick or slab need be submitted to a jury ( see, e.g., Hecht v City of New York, 60 N.Y.2d 57, 61 [claim involving trivial gap between two flagstones of the sidewalk was properly dismissed]). However, a mechanistic disposition of a case based exclusively on the dimension of the sidewalk defect is unacceptable. After examination of the facts presented, including the width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the "time, place and circumstance" of the injury ( Caldwell v Village of Is. Park, 304 N.Y. 268, 274), the court correctly concluded that no issue of fact was presented. In view of this disposition, we need not reach appellant's remaining arguments.

Chief Judge KAYE and Judges TITONE, BELLACOSA, SMITH, LEVINE, CIPARICK and WESLEY concur.

Order affirmed, with costs, in a memorandum.


Summaries of

Trincere v. County of Suffolk

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Oct 21, 1997
90 N.Y.2d 976 (N.Y. 1997)

holding that injuries resulting from trivial defects not actionable

Summary of this case from Cornelisse v. United States

holding a more than half inch height differential between sidewalk segments non-actionable

Summary of this case from Scott v. U.S.

holding a more than half inch height differential between sidewalk segments non-actionable

Summary of this case from Scott v. U.S.

finding "there is no 'minimal dimension test' or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable"

Summary of this case from Montesinos v. Daly

affirming Appellate Division's dismissal of claim after such an examination

Summary of this case from Tzul v. United States

In Trincere, the New York Court of Appeals made it clear that a "mechanistic disposition of a case based exclusively on the dimension of the sidewalk defect is unacceptable."

Summary of this case from Tursi v. United States

emphasizing the fact-specific nature of assessing whether a dangerous condition exists

Summary of this case from Nipon v. Yale Club of N.Y.C.

In Trincere, the New York Court of Appeals cautioned that “there is no ‘minimal dimension test’ or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height [or depth] in order to be actionable.” 90 N.Y.2d at 978, 665 N.Y.S.2d 615, 688 N.E.2d 489 (citations omitted).

Summary of this case from Habecker v. KFC U.S. Properties, Inc.

In Trincere, the New York Court of Appeals offered guidance for determining negligence in cases involving a trip and fall on an uneven walkway.

Summary of this case from Fosmire v. Kohl's Department Stores, Inc.

In Trincere v. County of Suffolk, 90 N.Y.2d 976, 665 N.Y.S.2d 615, 688 N.E.2d 489 (1997), this Court held that “there is no ‘minimal dimension test’ or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable”(id. at 977, 665 N.Y.S.2d 615, 688 N.E.2d 489), and therefore that granting summary judgment to a defendant “based exclusively on the dimension[s] of the... defect is unacceptable” (id. at 977–978, 665 N.Y.S.2d 615, 688 N.E.2d 489).

Summary of this case from Hutchinson v. Sheridan Hill House Corp.

In Trincere v. County of Suffolk (90 N.Y.2d 976,977,688 N.E.2d 489,490 [1997]) the Court of Appeals held that "there is no 'minimal dimension test' or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable."

Summary of this case from Jimenez v. Lordan Maspeth LLC

In Trincere v. County of Suffolk (90 N.Y.2d 976, 977, 688 N.E.2d 489, 490 [1997]) the Court of Appeals held that "there is no 'minimal dimension test' or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable."

Summary of this case from Gonzalez v. 104 Elliot Place Corp.

In Trincere v. County of Suffolk, 90 N.Y.2d 976 (1997), the plaintiff "stumbled and fell over a cement slab that was elevated at an angle 'a little over a half-inch above the surrounding paving slabs."

Summary of this case from Frost v. Eastgate Corp. Park

In Trincere, the Court explained that the determination of whether a dangerous condition or defect exists depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and in "in some instances, the trivial nature of the defect may loom larger than another element."

Summary of this case from Marks v. 79th St. Tenants Corp.

In Trincere v. County of Suffolk (90 NY2d 976, 978 [1997]) the court held "a mechanistic disposition of a case based exclusively on the dimension of the sidewalk defect is unacceptable."

Summary of this case from Mayes v. Bartley

In Trincere v County of Suffolk, 90 NY2d 976 [1997], the Court of Appeals indicated that the "width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the 'time, place and circumstance' of the injury" were to be considered (Id., at 978, quoting Caldwell v Village of Is. Park, 304 NY 268, 274 [1952]; Lamarre v Rensselaer County Plaza Assoc., 303 AD2d 914 [3d Dept 2003]).

Summary of this case from Powers v. State

In Trincere v County of Suffolk, 90 NY2d 976 [1997], the Court of Appeals indicated that the "width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the time, place and circumstance' of the injury" were to be considered (Id., at 978, quoting Caldwell v Village of Is. Park, 304 NY 268, 274 [1952]; Lamarre v Rensselaer County Plaza Assoc., 303 AD2d 914 [3d Dept 2003]).

Summary of this case from Powers v. State

In Trincere v. County of Suffolk, 90 N.Y.2d 976 [1997], the Court of Appeals indicated that the “width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the time, place and circumstance' of the injury” were to be considered (Id., at 978, quoting Caldwell v. Village of Is. Park, 304 N.Y. 268, 274 [1952] ; Lamarre v. Rensselaer County Plaza Assoc., 303 A.D.2d 914 [3d Dept 2003]).

Summary of this case from Stein v. State

addressing a claimed sidewalk defect

Summary of this case from Kientz v. State

In Trincere, the Court of Appeals held that "there is no 'minimal dimension test' or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable."

Summary of this case from Schenpanski v. Promise Deli, Inc.

In Trincere v County of Suffolk, 90 NY2d 976, 665 NYS2d 615, 688 NE2d 489 (C.A. 1997), the Court of Appeals held that whether a defective condition exists on the property of another so as to create liability depends on the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case and is generally a question of fact for the jury.

Summary of this case from Sangiorgio v. Bajan Corp.

In Trincere v County of Suffolk, 90 NY2d 976, 665 NYS2d 615, 688 NE2d 489 (C.A. 1997), the Court of Appeals held that whether a defective condition exists on the property of another so as to create liability depends on the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case and is generally a question of fact for the jury.

Summary of this case from Richmond v. City of Long Beach

In Trincere, a case that dealt with a defective sidewalk slab, the Court rejected a mechanistic approach based exclusively on the dimension of the sidewalk defect in favor of consideration of the width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the time, place and circumstances of the injury, and found that no triable issue of fact existed against the municipality based upon plaintiff's fall on a ½ inch raised slab.

Summary of this case from Richmond v. City of Long Beach

In Trincere v County of Suffolk, 90 NY2d 976. 665 NYS2d 615, the Court held that there is no "minimal dimension test" or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth in order to be actionable.

Summary of this case from Thompson v. Town of Huntington Cmty. Prop., LP

In Trincere v County of Suffolk, 90 NY2d 976, 665 NYS2d 615, 688 NE2d 489 (C.A. 1997), the Court of Appeals held that whether a defective condition exists on the property of another so as to create liability depends on the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case and is generally a question of fact for the jury.

Summary of this case from Meissner v. Andow Optical, Ltd.
Case details for

Trincere v. County of Suffolk

Case Details

Full title:ESTHER TRINCERE, Appellant, v. COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, Respondent

Court:Court of Appeals of the State of New York

Date published: Oct 21, 1997

Citations

90 N.Y.2d 976 (N.Y. 1997)
665 N.Y.S.2d 615
688 N.E.2d 489

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