SQUIRES v. COUNTY OF ORLEANS

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.

Debra A. SQUIRES and George N. Squires, Plaintiffs-Respondents, v. COUNTY OF ORLEANS, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: June 08, 2001

PRESENT:  PIGOTT, JR., P.J., PINE, HURLBUTT, SCUDDER and BURNS, JJ. Gregory T. Phillips, for defendant-appellant. Christopher S. Anderson, for plaintiffs-respondents.

 Supreme Court erred in denying defendant's motion seeking summary judgment dismissing the complaint.   A property owner may not be held liable for damages caused by trivial defects on a walkway that do not constitute a trap or nuisance that could cause a pedestrian to stumble, stub his or her toes, or trip (see, Marinaccio v. LeChambord Rest., 246 A.D.2d 514, 515, 667 N.Y.S.2d 395;  see also, Ress v. Incorporated Vil. of Hempstead, 276 A.D.2d 681, 682, 716 N.Y.S.2d 314;  Neumann v. Senior Citizens Ctr., 273 A.D.2d 452, 453, 710 N.Y.S.2d 382).   Debra A. Squires (plaintiff) testified that construction at the courthouse required her to reach the entrance by stepping over a curb.   She further testified that she caught her foot on an area of the curb that was “cracked and crumbly”, causing her to fall and sustain physical injuries.   Plaintiff testified that the broken or worn part of the curb was “a small area” and her husband testified that the area had no “measurable depth”.   Further, “[s]crutiny of the photographs identified by the plaintiff as accurately reflecting the condition of the [curb] at the time of [her] fall supports [defendant's contention] that, as a matter of law, the alleged defect, which did not have any of the characteristics of a trap or snare, was too trivial to be actionable” (Riser v. New York City Hous. Auth., 260 A.D.2d 564, 688 N.Y.S.2d 645;  see, Guerrieri v. Summa, 193 A.D.2d 647, 598 N.Y.S.2d 4).   We therefore reverse the order, grant defendant's motion and dismiss the complaint.

Order unanimously reversed on the law without costs, motion granted and complaint dismissed.

MEMORANDUM: