Plaintiff fell through an ancient, pre-1929, wrought iron vertical fire escape ladder attached to an old building on 2nd Avenue. She had climbed out a friend's apartment window to avoid the cigarette smoke within, get a breath of fresh air, and see the view of the City. It was dark and she knew the fire escape had an opening at the end leading to the level below. However, when she turned to return through the kitchen window, her heel caught in the slats of the platform and she fell through the opening, 12 feet to the platform below, a paraplegic.
Statutes (MDL § 53 and HMC § 15) prohibit this type of fire escape in the City; but do they apply to pre-1929 fire escapes? Supreme Court held that the building was erected before the MDL was enacted (1929) and could therefore only be applied to fire escapes built after that. But, on reargument, it relented, holding that since 1948, no such fire escapes could exist anywhere in the City at all.
AD1 agrees and Justice Tom threads the MDL with great aplomb, finding that in 1948, the Legislature amended § 53, requiring that every fire escape like the one that injured the plaintiff here was to be "removed and replaced," without exception. That section was also written in the future tense, suggesting that future action was intended. Even if that weren't so, the conversion of the old-law tenement into a Multiple Dwelling made it subject to all the MDL requirements, notwithstanding when it was built. AD1 affirms the grant of partial summary judgment.
Ancient fire escapes; the right of sepulcher; the law of waxed floors; who takes from Prince's estate in intestacy. We are a wonder.