A Brooklyn appellate court has affirmed the dismissal of a straphanger’s personal injury suit over the Transit Authority’s alleged failure to provide sufficient air conditioning on a New York City subway line.
One morning in July 2010, Marjolene Mahautiere was traveling on the F line when the subway stopped between stations because of a delay.
Mahautiere acknowledged she felt air conditioning working when she got on the subway and that the car was “relatively cool.” But while standing in the stalled subway, she became “hot and sweaty.” She fainted and fractured her left ankle in the fall.
She sued the New York City Transit Authority, claiming it created a dangerous condition and was negligent by failing to provide a “reasonably expected level of air conditioning.”
Queens Supreme Court Justice Darrell Gavrin (See Profile) granted the authority’s summary judgment motion in May 2012.
On Wednesday, the Appellate Division, Second Department unanimously upheld dismissal.
In Mahautiere v. New York City Transit Authority, 2012-07591, the panel said the authority had demonstrated that free air conditioning “‘created no justifiable reliance’ on the part of” Mahautiere.
The authority’s alleged inability to sufficiently cool the train did not put Mahautiere “in a more vulnerable position than [she] would have been in had defendant done nothing,” according to the panel, which included Justices Peter Skelos (See Profile), Mark Dillon (See Profile), Sheri Roman (See Profile) and Joseph Maltese (See Profile). The case was submitted for decision April 28.
Solomon Rosengarten represented Mahautiere. Lawrence Heisler, an attorney with the Transit Authority, represented the agency.