Strauss (plaintiff) was a 77-year-old tenant in an apartment building in New York City owned by Belle Realty Company (defendant). Belle Realty had a contract with Consolidated Edison (defendant) to provide electricity to the common areas of the apartment building. Consolidated Edison’s gross negligence, determined in a prior case, led to the 1977 New York City blackout. During the blackout, Strauss fell and was injured on the darkened and defective basement stairs of the apartment building. Strauss sued Belle Realty, alleging negligence in failing to maintain the stairs, and Consolidated Edison, alleging negligence in performing its duty to provide electricity. Strauss brought a motion for summary judgment to establish that Consolidated Edison owed him a duty of care. The trial court granted the motion, finding an issue of fact as to whether Consolidated Edison owed Strauss a duty of care. The Appellate Division reversed and dismissed Consolidated Edison as a party, finding that it had no duty to Strauss as a noncustomer.