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Do You Need to Remove the Snow?

April 22, 2020

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Dembele-v-373-381-Pas-Assoc-LLC.pdf">Dembele v 373-381 Pas Assoc LLC</a></em>, the Appellate Division, First Department addressed whether the defendants – restaurant and landowner had an obligation to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk abutting the property.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Bronx County Supreme Court granted the defendant and third-party defendants summary judgment motion on the basis that they did not have a duty to remove the snow and ice on the abutting sidewalk. However, the Appellate Division unanimously reversed the Supreme Court.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Plaintiff, an employee of the restaurant owned by third party defendant, sustained personal injuries after falling on snow and ice on a ramp leading from the side door of the restaurant to the abutting sidewalk. The restaurant leases the property from defendant – landowner. The ramp at issue is over the public sidewalk alongside the restaurant. The Appellate Division held that even though the lease between the defendants obligated the restaurant to remove snow from the sidewalk, it did not absolve the owners of the property of their nondelegable duty to keep the sidewalk in safe condition.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This decision serves as a reminder for building owners to do all they can to keep their sidewalks safe, notwithstanding the language in their lease with a tenant.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Corey Morgenstern for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:gcoats@wcmlaw.com">Georgia Coats</a> with any questions.</p>

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