Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An out-of-possession landlord's liability for a fall through an open trap door.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division found that the out-of-possession landlord was entitled to summary judgment where the plaintiff fell through an open trap door in the tenant's store. Even though the landlord reserved the right to reenter the leased premises for purposes of inspection and repair, the properly functioning trap door that was left open by someone within the tenant's control did not constitute a significant structural or design defect, and plaintiff failed to show a violation of a specific statutory provision, as required to impose liability upon the out-of-possession landlord.

Student note:  A general non-specific safety provision such as Administrative Code of City of NY § 28-301.1 is insufficient to impose liability on an out-of-possession owner.

Case:  Yuying Qiu v J & J Deli Corp., NY Slip Op 02150 (1st Dept. 2014).

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: The common-interest privilege.