Monday, February 8, 2016

A lessee/sublessor's liability.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division reversed, and reinstated the complaint in this action which plaintiff commenced after he allegedly was injured when he slipped and fell on premises that had been leased by defendant, and then subleased to another corporate entity.  Defendant failed to establish, prima facie, that the nonparty sublessee assumed the exclusive obligation to maintain the premises, and that defendant, as lessee/sublessor, had no duty to maintain the premises.  Since defendant failed to meet its initial burden as the movant, it was not necessary to review the sufficiency of plaintiff's opposition papers.

Student note:  An out-of-possession landlord may be liable for injuries occurring on the premises if it has retained control of the premises, is contractually obligated to perform maintenance and repairs, or is obligated by statute to perform such maintenance and repairs.  However, where the premises have been leased and subleased and the subtenant assumes the exclusive obligation to maintain the premises, both the out-of-possession landlord and the out-of-possession lessee/sublessor will be free from liability for injuries to a third party caused by the negligence of the subtenant in possession.

Case:  Iturrino v. Brisbane S. Setauket, LLC, NY Slip Op 00480 (2d Dept. 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  A legal malpractice claim based on violation of a contract's non-disparagement provision.