D.C. Court of Appeals Holds Metro Accountable for Slippery Station Floors

by | May 9, 2016

We are all familiar with the tiled surfaces of Metro stations. What may be less familiar is the fact that, over time, the force of people’s shoes on the tiles scuffs and wears down the surface, making the tiles smoother and slippery. When wet, the tiles in certain Metro stations can be particularly dangerous.

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In the case of Reeves v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, plaintiff Atiya K. Reeves entered the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro station in the early evening of February 24, 2011, at which time it was raining outside. Ms. Reeves passed through the turnstiles, then unexpectedly slipped on the tiled surface and fell to the ground, injuring herself. Ms. Reeves sued Metro, claiming that the worn-down, low-friction state of the tiles, in combination with water tracked inside the station by patrons, made the tiled surface of the Archives station unreasonably dangerous. However, the trial court dismissed the case, ruling that any danger posed by the wet floor should have been obvious to Ms. Reeves.

On appeal, on April 14, 2016, D.C.’s high court, the Court of Appeals, reversed this ruling and held that Ms. Reeves’ case should have proceeded to a trial before a jury. The Court of Appeals held that Ms. Reeves had presented sufficient evidence so that she might be able to prove her case to the jury. The Court reasoned that the smoothed state of the tiles was not necessarily obvious to Ms. Reeves, and that Metro, being the most familiar with the dangerous state of the tiles, perhaps had a duty to protect Ms. Reeves from the danger posed by Metro’s own property. This ruling will likely prove important to holding Metro and other landowners accountable for injuries caused by the unsafe state of their own premises.

If you have been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.

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