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First Department Rules in Favor of Defendant Construction Manager and Manufacturer in Negligence Claim

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The plaintiff in Rodriguez v. Miller Plumbing and Heating, Inc. was injured when a piece of metal door frame fell on her as she was cleaning a sliding glass door in an office building.  2024 NY Slip Op 00395 (N.Y. App. Div. Jan. 30, 2024).  Defendant Hudson Meridian Construction Group, LLC (“Hudson”) was the construction manager for a project on the floor where Plaintiff was allegedly struck.  Third-party defendant Infinium Wall Systems, Inc. (“Infinium”) manufactured and designed the glass partitions.  Summary judgment was granted as to both Hudson and Infinium.  The First Department affirmed.

The Court held that “the evidence established that Hudson neither owned, occupied, controlled, or made special use of the location where plaintiff was injured.”  Id.  Notably, evidence revealed that Hudson’s work had been completed by the time of Plaintiff’s alleged accident.

The Court further opined that Hudson established prima facie that “none of the exceptions to the general rule that a party who contracts to perform services on another’s property owes no duty in tort to injured third parties apply here.”  Id.  The Court further held that Hudson was not vicariously liable for other parties’ “potential creation of the defect, as their work was performed pursuant to a direct contract between the building owner and Infinium, not under Hudson’s construction management services agreement with the owner.”  Id.  Additionally, the Court held Plaintiff could not detrimentally rely on Hudson’s “continued performance of a contractual responsibility owed to the building owner.”  Id.  The Court held that the lower court properly granted summary judgment to the manufacturer Infinium for the same reasons, including that Infinium did not own or occupy the premises nor did it install the glass partitions.  Id.

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