Negligent Nanny

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Q: One day, I slipped and fell on liquid detergent that had spilled on the floor in the common laundry room located in the basement of my building.  The detergent had been spilled by the two-year-old son of some neighbors, who was supposedly being supervised by his nanny.

My accident occurred 10 minutes after the laundry detergent was spilled.  In the meantime, the nanny had reported the spill to an elevator operator.

A: In a slip-and-fall case, a landlord has the initial burden of demonstrating, prima facie, that it neither created the hazardous condition nor had actual or constructive notice of its existence for a sufficient length of time to discover and remedy it.  The landlord is permitted a reasonable time to undertake remedial actions that are reasonable and appropriate.

As for the nanny, she certainly owed no duty of care to you to maintain the premises in a safe condition.  Moreover, a claim of negligent supervision of the son seems highly implausible.  An uncapped bottle of detergent is not a dangerous instrument, and most likely it had not been actually entrusted to this minor.

True, a person to whom the custody and care of a child is entrusted by a parent is obliged to provide adequate supervision and may be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately resulting from her negligent failure to do so. However, especially when an accident occurs in so short a span of time, the courts are inclined to hold that lack of supervision was not the proximate cause of the accident.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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