No Lights, No Problem (NY)

In Grimaldi v. 221 Arlington Realty, LLC, the Second Department granted an out-of-possession landlord summary judgment and reversed the trial court’s decision. Plaintiff fell while ascending an exterior staircase at his place of employment, a location his employer leased from the defendant. The lease provided that the employer was responsible for making all routine repairs including building fixtures, appliances and their appurtenances. Plaintiff alleged that the front porch light at the building was not working properly, but did not allege any violation of statute or regulation.

The out-of-possession landlord moved on the basis of the lease, stating that it was not contractually obligated to maintain the lighting at the premises or repair any hazardous condition, that it never endeavored to perform such maintenance and that it did not violate any statute or regulation. The Second Department agreed with defendant and granted the motion for summary judgment, finding that plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact.

Out-of-possession landlords should take note: The language of your lease, coupled with your activity in respect of the premises, will determine your liability status for a dangerous condition

Thank to Alison Weintraub for her contribution to this post.  If you have an questions, please email Paul at pclark@wcmlaw.com.