1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001


On July 9, 2001, at about 12:15 in the morning, tenant Wendy Woodward fell down a flight of her building's porch steps. In a negligence case she later filed against the landlords, Woodward claimed that her fall was the result of inadequate lighting. (Supposedly, a motion sensor which triggered the porch light was not working properly at the time of the incident.)
There was just one little snag with the case. Woodward conceded that she never complained to the building's owners about the defect prior to the accident. (And, of course, the owners contended that the light functioned properly earlier that evening and the following night.)
Faced with these facts, the Suffolk County Supreme Court dismissed Woodward's case. On appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed the dismissal. It was the appellate court's position that the absence of "actual or constructive notice" to the owners of the defect precluded a recovery in the tenant's favor.
Which just goes to show you--particularly as far as negligence cases are concerned--there's no point keeping your landlord in the dark.
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Woodward v. Mendez, please click on the following link: