Friday, October 9, 2015

Sidewalk defets and an abutting landowner's liability.

Practice point:  Generally, liability for injuries sustained as a result of dangerous and defective conditions on public sidewalks is placed on the municipality, and not the abutting landowner.  However, an abutting landowner will be liable to a pedestrian injured by a sidewalk defect where, as the Appellate Division found relevant here, the landowner breached a specific ordinance or statute which obligates the owner to maintain the sidewalk.

Student note:  In order for a statute, ordinance or municipal charter to impose tort liability upon an abutting owner for injuries caused by the owner's negligence, the language thereof must not only charge the landowner with a duty, it must also specifically state that if the landowner breaches that duty he will be liable to anyone who might be injured.

Case:  Bachvarov v. Lawrence Union Free Sch. Dist., NY Slip Op 06996 (2d Dept. 2015)

Here is the decision.

Tuesday's issue:  A premature summary judgment motion.