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Landlord Avoids “Lights Out” Liability in Multiple Dwelling Public Areas.

January 21, 2009

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In <a href="">Kopsachilis v 130 E. 18 Owners Corp., </a>the plaintiff fell down an apartment building’s darkened fire staircase during the New York City blackout of August 14, 2003. The plaintiff subsequently brought suit, stating that the owner was negligent per se because the staircase was not continuously lit as required by Multiple Dwelling Law §37.
The Court of Appeals dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint because Multiple Dwelling Law §37 entitles a building owner to assert the defense that he had no “knowledge or consent” of an extinguished light. In dismissing the complaint, the Court of Appeals found that the owner had no liability under Multiple Dwelling Law §37, because he “obviously did not ‘consent’ to the blackout that darkened the staircase.”


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