Water on locker room floor was not “necessarily incidental to use of the area”.

Water on locker room floor was not “necessarily incidental to use of the area”, so defendant’s motion for summary judgment was properly denied.

 Plaintiff alleged he slipped on water in a locker room in the vicinity of a swimming pool and showers. The majority rejected the argument that water in the locker room was necessarily incidental to the use of the locker room, which would have justified summary judgment to defendant.  The majority distinguished two prior cases granting defendant summary judgment, one where plaintiff slipped on water around an indoor swimming pool and the other where plaintiff slipped on water in the area of the gym’s showers.   In those two previous cases, it had been held that the mere presence of water on a tiled floor adjacent to the gym’s shower or swimming pool could not impart liability because water was necessarily incidental to the use of the area.

But in the present case, plaintiff had left the pool area and he was not in the shower area: he was in a corridor between the pool and the men’s locker room which was a central spot from which a patron could access the showers, sinks, sauna, and steam room as well as the pool-access corridor. The location was also within a few feet of a bathing suit spinner machine and a nearby floor drain.

Plaintiff testified that one of the shower stalls would periodically overflow into the corridor and soak the carpeting at the entrance to the locker room, and that staff periodically placed towels on the carpet at the entrance to the locker room to protect to the carpet.

One member of defendant’s staff testified that the staff mopped the area in question every 15 to 20 minutes, but no one testified as to the last time the area in question was mopped and defendant had no log or check lists of maintenance performed.  The maintenance supervisor testified that the staff put out “wet floor” signs so that the staff didn’t have to mop as often.

Grossman v TCR, 2016 NY Slip Op 06114 (1st Dep’t Sept. 22, 2016) http://nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2016/2016_06114.htm

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