Breslin v. United Airlines, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 31 Motion for Summary Judgment; Upon consideration, the Court finds that summary judgment is not warranted, as theCourt cannot say as a matter of law that United satisfied its duty to provide a safe place and means to exit the van or that the Release bars Breslins claim against United. Accordingly, Uniteds motion for summary judgment is denied.(Ordered by Judge Leonard D. Wexler on 3/7/2013.) (Fagan, Linda)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CV 11-4927 (LDW) (ARL)
UNITED AIR LINES, INC.,
WEXLER, District Judge
Plaintiff Nancy Breslin (“Breslin”) brings this personal injury action against defendant
United Air Lines, Inc. (“United”) for injuries she allegedly sustained as she exited a passenger
van owned, operated, and maintained by United at John F. Kennedy International Airport
(“JFK”). United moves for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
Breslin opposes the motion.
On July 15, 2008, Breslin boarded the van in an employee parking lot at JFK en route to a
terminal shared by United and British Airways, her then-employer. Breslin claims that she
injured her knees when she jumped from the van to the sidewalk at the terminal drop-off
location. It is undisputed that the floor of the van at the exit doors measures approximately 22
inches above the ground and 15 ½ inches above the curb/sidewalk at the terminal drop-off
location. On March 31, 2010, Breslin retired from British Airways as part of a voluntary
separation program offered to eligible employees. As a condition to accepting the early
retirement, Breslin executed a General Release and Confidentiality Agreement (the “Release”).
United maintains that the undisputed facts establish that it satisfied its duty to provide
Breslin a safe place and means to exit the van, and that the Release bars Breslin’s claim against
United. According to United, the Release extended to British Airways and its “agents” –
including United. Breslin maintains that it is a question of fact for a jury to decide whether
United breached its duty to her, particularly by using a van that had no exterior running board or
step, and that the Release did not, and was not meant to, release United from its negligent use of
its van and, in particular, from her negligence claim against United.
Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” FRCP 56(a);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In determining whether the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law, a court must draw all reasonable factual inferences in
favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
Upon consideration, the Court finds that summary judgment is not warranted, as the
Court cannot say as a matter of law that United satisfied its duty to provide a safe place and
means to exit the van or that the Release bars Breslin’s claim against United. Accordingly,
United’s motion for summary judgment is denied.
LEONARD D. WEXLER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: Central Islip, New York
March 7, 2013
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