Property Owners Not Liable For Unaffiliated Volunteers (NY)

In Harry v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the Appellate Division, Second Department articulated the standard of care for premises owners with respect to volunteers using their facilities.  In Harry, plaintiff was injured when a table collapsed while he was attending a meeting of a local senior citizens’ club on the defendants’ premises. The table was improperly set up by a volunteer member of the club. The defendants merely provided space where the senior citizens club would meet but otherwise had no involvement in its meetings.

The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that they did not have any notice of or create the hazardous condition, and could not be vicariously liable for the acts of an unaffiliated volunteer. The Second Department agreed and upheld the  dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint and grant of summary judgment to the defendant owners.

Thanks to Alison Weintraub for her contribution to this post. If you have any questions or comments, please email Paul at pclark@wcmlaw.com