Airport not liable for escalator accident

On April 26, 2017, the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico dismissed a premises liability claim  against the administrators of the San Juan International Airport for  alleged personal injury arising from an elevator accident.  Plaintiff alleged she had suffered damages after a female passenger fell on her while stepping onto an airport escalator. Plaintiff fell forward, landing on her knees on the moving escalator conveyor. The escalator’s ascent did not stop when Plaintiff fell. She scraped her knees and suffered damages when she landed.

Following discovery Defendants filed for summary judgment.  The court ruled in favor of the airport because “Plaintiff has not presented evidence connecting any act or omission by Defendants to the female passenger’s escalator fall.  It was undisputed that the female passenger caused Plaintiff’s fall on the escalator and Plaintiff “had not asserted any facts to link the condition of the escalator area to the female passenger’s fall.” As a result, “even though an owner or occupier of commercial premises must exercise due care for the safety of its patrons, it is not liable in tort without a showing of fault.” (citing the case of Calderón-Ortega v. United States753 F.3d 250, 253 (1st Cir. 2014)). The Court ruled that  there was no genuine factual dispute as to Defendants’ breach of the duty of care or the causal nexus between Defendants’ conduct and Plaintiff’s injury. Therefore, Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff’s Article 1802 negligence claim. Nieves v. Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC, Civil No.  14-1484 (GAG) (D.P.R. Apr. 26, 2017).