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Transitory Condition Limits New York Premises Liability For Out-of-Possession Landlord (NY)

March 25, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">On January 26, 2022, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department in <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Santiago-v.-Post-Road-Associates-LLC.pdf">Santiago v. Post Road Associates LLC</a>,</em> 201 A.D.3d 980 (2022) found, among other things, that an out-of-possession landlord did not owe a duty of care to a plaintiff who alleged a trip and fall on a metal bracket that was lying on an interior staircase at her place of employment.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The plaintiff’s employer, White Plains Hospital, leased the premises from the defendant owner, Post Road Associates, LLC. The owner retained a general contractor, Defendant Unicorn Contracting Corp., to renovate the space for hospital use. The hospital had taken possession of the leased space at least one month prior to the accident. The plaintiff filed suit against the landlord and the general contractor, which filed a third-party claim against the hospital.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The landlord, along with the hospital and general contractor, moved for summary judgment arguing that it was an out-of-possession landlord with no duty to clean a staircase. The court found that the landlord established its prima facie burden that it did not have a duty to keep the staircase free from a transitory condition. The transitory condition at issue in this matter being the bracket on the staircase.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">While a transitory condition may limit exposure of liability to an owner of real property, out-of-possession landlords still retain a duty to maintain premises in a reasonably safe condition if statute, contract, or course of conduct place that duty upon them.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Please contact <a href="mailto:jdiffley@wcmlaw.com">John Diffley</a> with any questions.</p>

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