First Department Affirms Dismissal of Premises Liability Case

October 11, 2017

London Fischer LLP, through its associate, Tracy J. Weinstein, successfully argued that the First Department affirm the trial court’s decision, which granted a third-party defendant – a commercial tenant and plaintiff’s employer –summary judgment.  Plaintiff claimed personal injuries as a result of slipping while entering the building where she worked. The lease between the building owner and tenant obligated the tenant to maintain the common lobbies. Plaintiff’s accident occurred in the approximately 12x3 foot area between the building’s outer doors and the second set of doors, which lead into the larger lobby area.  Plaintiff argued that the subject area was a “vestibule,” and therefore not within the tenant’s maintenance obligations regarding common lobbies.  Pursuant to CPLR §1008, Ms. Weinstein argued in the shoes of the building owner, and the First Department unanimously affirmed that the tenant had sole responsibility for maintaining the area where plaintiff fell and that the owner was an-of-possession landlord with no obligation to perform repairs.  The allegedly wet floor was not a significant structural or design defect contrary to a specific safety provision and therefore, the owner could not be held liable.  Accordingly, the claims against the third-party defendant tenant were also dismissed.

A copy of the opinion may be viewed through the link below: