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Kings County Court Throws Out Third-Party Complaint in Trump Tower Slip-and-Fall Case

Case Study

Kings County Court Throws Out Third-Party Complaint in Trump Tower Slip-and-Fall Case

Coffee company secures summary judgment on contractual indemnity


Goldberg Segalla, representing an international coffee company leasing space in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, secured a summary judgment win for its client in a personal injury action involving a slip and fall in the building, effectively removing the company from ongoing litigation.

The action stemmed from an employee’s allegation that she slipped and fell on water while walking toward the restroom inside the building. The plaintiff claimed that her fall occurred within a “common area” of the building and brought a lawsuit against the Trump Corporation, and a workers’ compensation claim for the incident.

Trump Corporation then brought a third-party action against our client, claiming that the coffee company was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, and that the Trump Corporation was entitled to contribution and/or indemnification from it. Goldberg Segalla’s experienced defense team got the plaintiff to admit that on the date of the incident―after the business had closed for the night―she had personally inspected the area where she claimed to have fallen and found it was clean and dry. The plaintiff testified that she slipped and fell in that area only 10 minutes later as she and a co-worker walked down a hallway toward the restroom.

Joseph M. Hanna, co-chair of the firm’s Retail and Hospitality practice group, led the defense of the coffee company, with help from Garden City-based partner J. Daniel Velez. They argued that the plaintiff’s testimony was sufficient to establish that our client did not create the defective condition; that our client did not have either actual or constructive notice of the defective condition; and that the plaintiff, as an employee of the coffee company, was barred from recovery under workers’ compensation law. Additionally, they argued that the incident occurred within a “common area” of the building, as defined by the lease, and that therefore Trump Corporation, as owner of the building, had a non-delegable duty to maintain it.

The court agreed and on July 9, 2019, the presiding judge granted our client’s summary judgment motion dismissing Trump Corporation’s third-party complaint in its entirety, removing the company from the ongoing litigation.


Learn more about Goldberg Segalla’s Retail and Hospitality practice:

Goldberg Segalla’s Retail and Hospitality practice offers strong defense, comprehensive counsel, and long-term strategic guidance to all types of retail, hospitality, and commercial development businesses. With the knowledge and resources to handle complex litigation and arbitration and provide sound risk-avoidance counsel, we also offer our clients all the benefits of a relationship with a firm that values teamwork and professionalism. Because of the power of that promise, the firm has established long-term relationships with numerous high-profile clients in the commercial development, shopping center, and retail industries, including several Fortune 100 companies, some of the world’s largest private and publicly traded owners and developers of shopping centers, national and international retailers, hotels and resorts, restaurants, convenience store chains, office and industrial parks, managers of commercial properties, and major North American fitness center brands.

To learn more, contact co-chairs Joseph M. Hanna or Rodney J. Janis.