Trivial Defect Doctrine in Trip and Fall Claim May Not Rest on Defect’s Size

Plaintiff sued Luna Park in Coney Island, alleging that she tripped and fell over a “height differential” and was injured. The park moved to dismiss arguing that the defect was trivial and created no risk to plaintiff. The Second Department affirmed the denial of that motion.

The court noted that the specifics of the situation drive the determination of plaintiff’s claim, including the time, place, and circumstances of her fall. The court noted that a “physically small defect” can be actionable “in an area ‘where pedestrians are naturally distracted from looking down at their feet.’” In this case, the park showed that “the alleged defect was ‘physically small,’ [but] it failed to demonstrate that the surrounding circumstances, including the location of the alleged defect in a crowded amusement park with distractions such as lights and noises, did not ‘magnify the dangers it pose[d].’”

In other words, “trivial” may not be so trivial when someone falls.

Sessa v. Central Amusement International, LLC

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