Langston v. Gonzalez
Justice Debra Silber
Langston claimed he was injured when he fell on a sidewalk located appurtenant to defendant Gonzalez's grocery store, which is located on the ground floor of an apartment building owned by defendant Long. Langston claimed that he fell because of a defect in the metal cellar doors on the sidewalk. Defendants claimed they neither caused nor had notice of any defective condition, and that any defect in the cellar doors was trivial as a matter of law. The court found defendants failed to make a prima facie showing that the allegedly defective condition did not constitute a trap or nuisance, and was merely a non-actionable trivial defect. The court added that defendants' claim that they did not have actual or constructive notice of the alleged defect was not an appropriate argument in this case. The court granted Gonzalez dismissal of the complaint as against him. It noted the doors were used exclusively by Gonzalez and his employees and added that, as these doors were on the sidewalk, they must not create a hazard to pedestrians. The court held that any failure of Gonzalez to repair any defect, even if required under a lease, did not create a duty on his part to Langston.