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On December 13, 2011 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department, an interesting case was heard

On December 13, 2011 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department, an interesting case was heard. The commercial vehicle accident injury that occurred in Westchester County and had been heard on September 28, 2010 was being appealed. The issue at appeal was that the property owner of a commercial property had asked the court for a summary judgment to relieve it from liability in the personal injury accident case because of contractual indemnification. In other words, they could not be held responsible for an accident or injury that occurred on the property because the business that leased the property from the owner had agreed in their contract not to hold the property owner liable. Previously, the courts had not reviewed this request.

The facts of the case are undisputed. A woman went to a fast food restaurant that was located on the property owned by the property owner. After eating, the woman left the restaurant and was struck by a commercial garbage truck that was leaving the restaurant. The woman received injuries from the accident and named the truck company, the restaurant owners, and the property owners in her suit.

The property owner states that because of the contract that says that they are not to be held liable for any actions that occur out of “any accident, injury or damage whatsoever caused to any person or property arising, directly or indirectly, out of the business conducted in the premises or occurring in, on or about the premises or any part thereof,” except if the negligence is on the part of the property owner.

Since the person who was injured had claimed that the landscaping may have had an impact on her ability to see the vehicle coming at her, and the property owner had supplied the landscaping, the issue was if the property owner was liable for the injury.

The Supreme Court agreed with the property owner that it had made a mistake previously when it had denied a summary judgment on behalf of the property owner. Because they had a contract with the restaurant that clearly stated that they would not be held liable for any incident that arose out of the course of business of the restaurant that they could not be held liable. Clearly the incident did occur in the course of the restaurant since the woman was a patron.

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