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Rain on Someone Else’s Parade for Liability

August 4, 2023

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In a recent decision by the Second Department, <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Kathy-Bockstruck-et-al.-v.-Town-of-Islip-et-al.pdf">Kathy Bockstruck et al. v. Town of Islip et al.</a></em>, 2019-13793, the Court held that organizing a parade does not equate to liability in a trip-and-fall accident. In 2012, Kathy Bockstruck was injured while marching in a parade organized by West Islip Post #1738 of the American Legion and subsequently fell into an open utility hole, resulting in injuries. As a result of this accident, the Plaintiff sued the Town of Islip, the Suffolk County Water Authority, and the American Legion Post 1738. Both the American Legion and the Water Authority filed for summary judgment, resulting in success for the American Legion but a denial the latter. Both the Plaintiff and Water Authority appealed.

On appeal, the Second Department found the Supreme Court had properly ruled on these motions. In short, even though the American Legion had been the organizers of the parade, it was clearly established that it did not own the road or the utility hole, which were owned by the County and the Water Authority. Additionally, the Legion critically did not possess control over either. It was further established that the Legion did not own or control the condition of the parade route nor did it have any role in the creation of the same. Overall, the Second Department did not find any duty owed to the Plaintiff by the American Legion for simply holding the parade where and when they did. And so, the moral of the story: if you’re hosting a parade, do it on someone else’s property.

Thanks to Patrick Argento for his contribution to this article. Should you have any question, contact <a href="mcare@wcmlaw.com">Matthew Care.</a>

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