Sidewalk Claim Reinstated Against City

Entrance to L Train. Image credit: CityLaw.

Pedestrian slipped and fell on sloped, granite sidewalk, the design for which had been approved by the City. On June 18, 2013, Carolyn J. Trawinski was injured when she slipped and fell on a sloped sidewalk adjacent to the side entrance of a mixed commercial-residential building at 183 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn near the entrance of the L line subway station. The sidewalk was made up of smooth, polished granite, and was wet at the time of the accident. Trawinski suffered multiple injuries to her ankle that required the insertion of eleven screws under general anesthesia.

On November 11, 2013, Trawinski sued the City. Supreme Court Justice J. Baynes dismissed the complaint, ruling that the adjacent property owner, rather than the city, was responsible for the unsafe sidewalk condition.

Trawinski subsequently learned through a FOIL request that the City had approved the design of the sidewalk. Based upon this new information, which supported her claim that the City was responsible, Trawinski asked to renew and reargue her opposition to the City’s motion to dismiss her complaint. The lower court denied her request.

The Appellate Division, Second Department reversed the lower court’s decision and allowed Trawinski to reargue her claim because of the new information. New information may be grounds for renewal as long as the information was relevant, and it was not reasonably possible for the person to have known at an earlier date. The court found that the City’s affirmative approval of the sidewalk design was relevant to the earlier decision, and that the information was not reasonably possible to obtain before the lower court’s decision date due to the processing time of FOIL requests.


Trawinski v. Jabir & Farag Properties, LLC, 63 N.Y.S.3d 431 (2d Dep’t 2017) (Attorneys: Glenn P. Dolan, for Trawinski; Zachary W. Carter, Fay S. Ng, Janet L. Zaleon, for City).


By: Ayala Blumenkrantz (Ayala is a New York Law School student, Class of 2019.)


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