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In NJ, Store In Multi-Tenant Shopping Center Not Liable For Plaintiff’s Fall

November 9, 2012

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In the recent Appellate decision of <em>Kandrac v. Marrazzo’s Market</em>, the court considered whether a commercial tenant in a multi-tenant shopping center owes a duty to its patrons to maintain an area of the parking lot that the landlord is contractually obligated to maintain.
Marrazzo’s Market was one of thirty-six stores in a shopping center that Foxmoor Associates owned. Kandrac was injured when she fell in the shopping center’s parking lot after leaving Marrazzo’s store. Specifically, she claimed that her foot was caught on a "hump" in the parking lot, causing her to trip and fall forward. The fall occurred two feet from the cross-walk in a roadway that separates the stores from the area where cars are parked. Pursuant to the lease between Marrazzo’s and Foxmoor, the landlord was responsible for maintaining the common areas, including the parking lot.
Marrazzo’s filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that, as a commercial tenant in a multi-tenant facility, it owed no duty to invitees for injuries that occur in a common area. The trial court agreed and Kandrac appealed, arguing that Marrazzo’s had a duty to provide a safe ingress and egress from the store to the parking lot. The Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s decision and upheld dismissal of the claims against Marrazzo’s.
Thanks to Heather Aquino for her contribution to this post.
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