Oldakowski v. Homestead Farm Estate, LLC., et al.
Patrick J. Cooney, of the firm's Albertson office, obtained summary judgment in a case involving the death of a guest at a rustic upstate resort.  The decedent and his wife went for a walk on a path owned, but not maintained by the resort.  The path featured natural terrain that ran along-side a creek.  As the decedent walked with his wife, they stopped at a particular point and the decedent's wife claimed that as he stood along the extreme edge of the path, the ground beneath him suddenly gave way, causing the decedent to fall down to the creek (approximately 10 feet).  Plaintiff presumably hit his head while falling, causing a serious brain injury and ultimately his death. 

We successful argued that as a recreational hiker, plaintiff, under the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk, assumed the risks associated with hiking; which included slippery or unstable terrain, rocks and most significantly, that the trail would naturally have an edge from which one might fall if standing too close.  In addition, we argued that the resort had no duty to warn against naturally occurring features on an unimproved trail where the condition (the edge) was both open and obvious.  In opposition, plaintiff offered an expert affidavit opining that the condition (soil breaking free as plaintiff stood at the edge of the trail), should have been discovered and remedied by the resort.  The court granted summary judgment and dismissed all claims against the resort.  (February, 2015)