70 N.Y.2d 621, 518 N.Y.S 2d 776, Web 1987 N.Y Lexis 17294
United States Court of Appeals of New York
* Julius Ebanks’s left foot got caught in a 2-inch gap between the escalator step and the side wall of the escalator, which was owned and operated by the New York City Transit Authority. * He was thrown violently to the ground after reaching the top. His hip was fractured along with other serious injuries. * The standard gap of the city’s building code was 3/8 inches * Ebanks (plaintiff) sued the Transit Authority (defendant) to recover damages for his injuries. Issues:
* Who wins?
* Were plaintiff’s injuries the result of Transit Authority’s negligent operation and maintenance of the escalator? Decisions of the court:
* Julius Ebanks wins and he can recover damages from the Transit Authority under negligence per se doctrine. Reasoning:
Under the doctrine of negligence per se, a defendant is liable if fails to repair and maintain a damage that causes injuries to the plaintiff. The injured party does not have to prove the defendant owed the duty because the statute establishes it. Because the building code established the requirement for the space between an escalator step and wall cannot exceed 3/8 inches while the gap in this case was 2 inches, Transit Authority did violate the building code. Since the building code was made to prevent this sort of injury and Ebanks was meant to be protected under the building code, the Court held in favor of Ebanks under negligence per se doctrine.
Businesses have to take a very careful look at their responsibility established by statutes or ordinances and take action to fulfill their responsibility to avoid causing injuries and therefore, avoid a lawsuit.
Result of Opposite Ruling:
Businesses would need not to always follow a statue or ordinance. A safety standard wouldn’t always be guaranteed and businesses...