Daniel Stewart and Nancy Lewis Obtain Summary Judgment in Slip and Fall Case

In this slip and fall action venued in The Bronx, Fleischner Potash, representing an out of possession building owner, won a summary judgment dismissal of the case on the ground that an out of possession landlord who is not contractually obligated to maintain or make repairs to the leased premises, but which retains a right of re-entry, may only be held liable for significant structural or design defects of the premises that are in violation of a specific safety-related provision of the Building Code of the State of New York.

In opposition to our motion, Plaintiff claimed that the right of re-entry rule does not apply to this case because the out of possession owner’s right to re-enter included the right to repair the very pipes the plaintiff claimed were leaking water onto the floor of the restaurant wherein she was a patron at the time of her accident and that the leaking pipes constituted a significant structural defect of the premises for which the building owner could be held liable.

Justice Howard Sherman of the Supreme Court, Bronx County, held that our motion demonstrated the building owner’s prima facie entitlement to summary judgment, and that in opposition to the motion, plaintiff failed to raise a genuine, triable issue of fact. The court therefore in all respects granted the motion and dismissed the Complaint insofar as it was asserted against the building owner.

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