The plaintiff filed a deposition involving a trip and fall accident that allegedly occurred while the plaintiff was walking along the sidewalk between the two buildings. According to the complaint filed by the plaintiff, the two buildings were owned by a restaurant and a pub. The plaintiff pointed out that the weather was clear during that time. The accident occurred in broad daylight.
Based on the testimony of the plaintiff, he came upon two uneven slabs of the sidewalk, causing him to trip on the slab that jutted out of the sidewalk. He fellonto the ground and sustained injuries. The plaintiff was not aware of this uneven portion of the sidewalk since he was looking straight ahead while walking along. The plaintiff further stated that his fall was caused by a seam in the sidewalk. According to his supporting statements, one part of the sidewalk was higher compared to the other part. The plaintiff’s shoe got caught in the seam, causing the plaintiff to fall on the ground.
It was noted by the court that the plaintiff lived near the area and had walked on the same sidewalk frequently. She did not notice the presence of the seam until the accident. The plaintiff was also not aware of incidents prior to the filing of this case.
Upon reviewing how the plaintiff was involved in the accident, the court must then determine the ownership of the buildings flanking the sidewalk. According to the facts presented in the case, the lease of the buildings was owned by a restaurant. Based on the terms of the lease, all tenants must observe the proper repair and maintenance of the sidewalk. This includes the fixtures inside the premises as well as those outside the building. In the lease agreement, the terms also state that all tenants are tasked to be responsible in preserving the fixtures and sidewalks in good working condition.
It has been noted by the court that the main lease agreement contained the provision that the landlord of the property is responsible for initiating repairs of utilities including everything else that’s outside such as the walls, the roof and the sidewalk.
With these terms indicated on the lease agreement, the restaurant has moved for dismissal of the case. The restaurant identifies three reasons why a dismissal should be ordered by the court. For the first reason, the restaurant clearly believes that it has no responsibility for such sidewalk repairs as stated in the lease agreement. The second ground for dismissal involves the plaintiff’s allegation. It should be viewed by the court as mere speculation since the plaintiff failed to establish what really caused the fall. The third reason for dismissal was there was no notice of any defect on the sidewalk. There was no record of anyone complaining of an uneven sidewalk.
The plaintiff contends the statements of the restaurant. According to the statements, the restaurant was fully aware of the defect on the sidewalk but did not do anything about it. The plaintiff cites a provision on the lease agreement concerning the part that the tenant was obliged to report any defect found on the premises including the sidewalk.
After reviewing the provisions of law, the lease and facts presented on the case, the court has ruled that it is the duty of the property owner to maintain and repair the sidewalk for public safety. In this regard, it is the property owner that will become liable in the event that an accident has occurred because of negligence. The court has granted the restaurant’s motion for dismissal and proceeded to clear it of any obligation to pay damages.
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