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Shirley Harrison v. New York City Transit Authority

April 12, 2012

SHIRLEY HARRISON,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY,
DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



Harrison v New York City Tr. Auth.

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Decided on April 12, 2012

Saxe, J.P., Sweeny, Freedman, Manzanet-Daniels, JJ.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Michael D. Stallman, J.), entered May 5, 2011, which granted defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff alleges that she slipped and fell back as she approached the turnstile in the subway station at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue on her way to work at about 9 a.m. on a weekday. At a deposition, she testified as follows:

"Q. Do you know what caused you to slip?

"A. Well, as I was being helped up, I saw MetroCards and debris on the floor?

"Q. Did you see the MetroCards and debris on the floor before you slipped?

"A. No I did not.

"Q. Did one or both of your feet come into contact with anything when you slipped?

"A. I am not sure. It happened so fast. As I was being helped up, I looked and I saw wrappers and MetroCards on the floor."

In an affidavit prepared later, plaintiff stated, "When I was helped up, I looked at the floor to see what caused me to slip. There, in front of and underneath the turnstile, was a thick pile of spent, discarded MetroCards, spread out in different directions, together with some package wrappings." She said she gave the MetroCards as a reason for her accident.

Defendant's witness, Sandra McLaurin, the New York City Transit Authority employee who had been responsible for cleaning the 125th Street Station for 10 years, described her work routine based on an established schedule. She arrived at 6 a.m. and proceeded to sweep clean the stairs and mezzanine where the turnstiles were located. She then cleaned other parts of the station including the restrooms, finishing at about 10 a.m. She repeated the routine starting at 10:30 a.m., sweeping the MetroCards and debris that accumulated during the rush hour. The second sweeping took 15 to 20 minutes longer because of an even greater amount of debris. Trash receptacles were placed near the MetroCard dispensing machine and inside the station, through the turnstiles. ...


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