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Does a Property Owner have a Duty to Protect against a Driver who Jumps a Curb and Crashes into Their Building? (NY)

May 21, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In <a href=""><em>Collins v. Delaware Ave. Enters, Inc.</em></a>, the Appellate Division, Second Department addressed whether the defendant was entitled to summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Plaintiff brought this cause of action when a motor vehicle jumped a curb and sidewalk and crashed into a strip mall owned by the defendants. At the time of the crash, plaintiff was inside of the building when the vehicle struck him after going through the front window.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The court stated, “A property owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition”. "However, there is no legal duty to protect against an occurrence which is extraordinary in nature and, as such, would not suggest itself to a reasonably careful and prudent person as one which should be guarded against." There will ordinarily be no duty imposed on a defendant to prevent a third party from causing harm to another unless the intervening act which caused the plaintiff's injuries was a normal or foreseeable consequence of the situation created by the defendant's negligence". (citations omitted)</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The court held that the defendants were properly granted summary judgment because they 1) maintained their premises in a “reasonably safe condition” and that it did not have a duty to protect plaintiff against the “unforeseen intervening conduct” of the driver.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This decision serves as a reminder that although property owners have a duty to maintain its premises in a safe condition, that the duty does not extend to unforeseen conduct.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Corey Morgenstern for his contribution to this post.  Please email<a href=""> Georgia Coats</a> with any questions.</p>


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