Airline summary judgment motion denied in trip and fall case

Burgos v. American Airlines, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 7, 2006).  The passenger allegedly tripped on a plastic cover on the aircraft cabin’s floor while boarding a flight from Puerto Rico to New York.  In the passenger’s lawsuit, the airline moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence that it created, or had actual or constructive notice of, the allegedly defective condition. 

The denied the airline’s motion.  The court applied New York common law, rather than “the Warsaw Convention/Montreal Agreement,” because Puerto Rico is not a foreign sovereign.  The court refused to apply the res ipsa loquitur doctrine against the airline, held that there is no notice requirement where a defendant has created the allegedly dangerous condition at issue, and held that whether the airline created such condition is an issue of material fact that precluded summary judgment.

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