755 F.Supp. 89 (S.D.N.Y. 1991), Gross v. American Airlines, Inc.

Citation:755 F.Supp. 89
Party Name:Harry M. GROSS and Elizabeth Gross, Plaintiffs, v. AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Defendant. 89 Civ. 3185 (RO).
Case Date:January 22, 1991
Court:United States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, Southern District of New York

Page 89

755 F.Supp. 89 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)

Harry M. GROSS and Elizabeth Gross, Plaintiffs,

v.

AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Defendant.

89 Civ. 3185 (RO).

United States District Court, S.D. New York.

Jan. 22, 1991

Maloney & Anker (Kevin D. Moloney, of counsel), White Plains, N.Y., for plaintiffs.

Page 90

Quirk and Bakalor (Michael Hecht, of counsel), New York City, for defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

OWEN, District Judge:

Plaintiff Harry Gross alleges that while on line to check-in for an American Airlines flight departing from Phoenix, a woman on line next to him began to fall backwards and when Gross stuck out his arm to grab her, she fell on top of him, causing Gross to fall and injure himself. Gross claims that American was negligent in failing to properly maintain and monitor its curb-side check-in area and should be held liable for the personal injuries he sustained. American now moves for summary judgment.

On the day of the alleged injury, Harry Gross and his wife Elizabeth arrived at the American sidewalk check-in at Phoenix airport. In his deposition, Gross states that he was on line for between five and fifteen minutes when,

Suddenly--I don't know how it happened, but there was a lot of luggage around and the woman on my left, I sort of saw her fall backwards and I stuck my arm out to grab her.

. . . . .

The left arm. I stuck out the left arm and she fell backwards. There were small pieces of luggage all around by her and by others, and she pulled me down and fell on top of me. I fell on the street below the curb.

When asked if he knew what caused the woman to his left to fall backwards, Gross responded that he "would assume" that she was falling over a piece of hand luggage left on the ground, but that he did not actually see her trip over anything. "All I saw, I was looking ahead to the left side and saw someone falling and instinctively I put out my arm to catch her." 1 No reasonable inference can be drawn from the evidence presented as to what caused the woman to fall.

Gross further testified that he did not know how many people were in front of or behind him in line, in front of his wife in line, 2 or in front of the woman who fell onto him. Although Gross's attorney in his affidavit claims that Gross's injury was due to "overcrowding," the complaint does not actually allege that a crowd existed 3 and Gross has failed to introduce any evidence showing that a crowd or a large number of people were in the check-in line at the time the alleged injury occurred.

Gross further alleges that American failed to adequately monitor or control the area, however, he testified that he did not know how many American employees were working at the check-in counter. Gross presents no evidence that American acted unreasonably in its monitoring and controlling procedures. In addition, Gross alleges that American was negligent in "failing to give proper warning and notice to plaintiff ... of the dangers and of the conditions existing at its place of business." Gross presents no evidence of what such proper warning or notice would be and I find it unreasonable, indeed silly, to impose a duty on American to post signs warning passengers to watch out for the very obvious placement of luggage by the feet of other passengers nearby in the check-in line.

A determination...

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