Stewart v. New York City Tr. Auth – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Stewart v. New York City Tr. Auth. (82 AD3d 438, 918 N.Y.S.2d 81 [1st Dept 2011]), the dangerous condition that caused plaintiff's fall and injuries were slippery and dirty subway station stairs caused by pigeon droppings.

The plaintiff in Stewart had repeatedly complained about the pigeon droppings to station workers. He and a station cleaner testified that there was pigeon droppings on the station and stairs every day. And each day the station cleaner puts sand over the droppings to remedy the slippery condition.

On the day of the accident, the station cleaner was not at work. On that day, the plaintiff saw the droppings on the steps fourteen hours prior to the accident, and again at the time of the accident.

The Appellate Division, First Department, found that based on the evidence, the jury could infer that defendant had actual knowledge that the pigeon droppings were regular occurrences there and thus, constructive notice could be imputed to defendant of each reoccurrence of the hazardous condition (Stewart, 82 AD3d at 439).