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TORRES v. DAD'S PARTNERS

January 16, 2003

EFRAIN TORRES, PLAINTIFF, AGAINST, DAD'S PARTNERS, INC., SHORTLINE, BUS SYSTEMS, INC., HUDSON TRANSIT CORPORATION, AND COACH USA, INC., DEFENDANT.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: John F. Keenan, United States District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Background

This action was commenced by the filing of a summons and complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 1441, 1446, defendants removed the action to this Court. Jurisdiction is predicated on diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Now before the Court is a motion by the defendants for summary judgment.

Facts

This litigation is the result of a slip-and-fall accident that occurred on October 7, 1999. On that date, Plaintiff Efrain Torres ("Torres") was employed by Gray Line Air Shuttle ("Gray Line") as a bus driver. As a bus driver, Torres's primary responsibility was to transport guests of various hotels from the local New York City airports to their hotels in and around Manhattan and from the hotels to the airports. See Pl. Mem. Summ. J. Ex. 4 at 7-8.

On the date of the accident, Torres was summoned by a Gray Line dispatcher to pick up a copy of his route sheet for that evening at the Gray Line shuttle base located at 524 West 46th Street in Manhattan. See id. at 15-16. The building on 46th Street is owned by Dad's Partners, Inc. ("Dad's")*fn1 and comprised of two separate, and largely distinct, units: a large one-story garage and a four-story brownstone with office space. See Def. Mem. Summ. J. Ex. D at 11-12. On the day of the accident, the garage was leased by Defendant Hudson Transit Corporation ("Hudson")*fn2 and the brownstone was leased by Gray Line.*fn3 See id.

In order to retrieve his route sheet, Torres had to go to the second floor of the brownstone. After retrieving his route sheet and while descending the stairs within the Gray Line leased property, Torres slipped and fell. See Pl. Mem. Summ. J. Ex. 4 at 25. The fall was violent enough to cause Torres to lose consciousness temporarily and warrant the attention of paramedics. See id. at 42. According to Torres, when he regained consciousness his supervisor, Luis Sanson, was yelling at a Gray Line co-worker for not cleaning a grease-like substance on the stairs that Sanson had asked him to clean nearly an hour before the fall. See id. at 31-32. Torres claims the paramedic treating him on the stairs where he fell showed him that there was grease on the bottom of Torres's shoe. See id. at 42.

Torres claims to have sustained serious injuries as a result of his fall, and seeks to hold the defendants liable for having caused or created the dangerous condition. The defendants have moved for summary judgment.

Conclusions of Law

Standard of Review

This Court may grant summary judgment only if the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Silver v. City Univ. of New York, 947 F.2d 1021, 1022 (2d Cir. 1991); Montana v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 869 F.2d 100, 103 (2d Cir. 1989); Knight v. U.S. Fire Insur. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11 (2d Cir. 1986). The role of the Court on such a motion "is not to resolve disputed issues of fact but to assess whether there are any factual issues to be tried, while resolving ambiguities and drawing reasonable inferences against the moving party." Knight, 804 F.2d at 11; see also First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 869 F.2d at 103 (stating that to resolve a summary judgment motion properly, a court must conclude that there are no genuine issues of material fact, and that all inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party)

The movant bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions to file, together with affidavits, if any," that show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the movant meets this initial burden, the party opposing the motion must then demonstrate that there exists a genuine dispute as to the material facts. See id.; Silver, 947 F.2d at 1022.

The opposing party may not solely rely on its pleadings, on couclusory factual allegations, or on conjecture as to the facts that discovery might disclose. See Gray v. Darien, 927 F.2d 69, 74 (2d Cir. 1991). Rather, the opposing party must present specific evidence supporting its contention that there is a genuine material issue of fact. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324; Twin Lab. Inc. v. Weider Health & Fitness, 900 F.2d 566, 568 (2d Cir. 1990). To show such a "genuine dispute," the opposing party must come forward with enough evidence to allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Cinema North Corp. v. Plaza at Latham Assocs., 867 F.2d 135, 138 (2d Cir. 1989). If "the party opposing summary judgment propounds a reasonable conflicting ...


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