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New York Appellate Court Finds Triable Issues of Fact, Summary Judgment Denied


The plaintiff in the matter is Andrea Faulk. The defendants in the matter are the City of New York and Marcus Garvey Brownstone Houses, Inc. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Kings County.

The defendants have moved for a summary judgment in the case dismissing the complaints made against them by the plaintiff.

Case Background

The plaintiff alleges that on the 9th of January, 2006, she was walking outside the premises located at 360 Chester Street in Brooklyn New York when she fell. She states that the reason for the fall was the broken, uneven, cracked, and patched sidewalk of the area. She states that the sidewalk was dangerous and in an unsafe condition.

Case Discussion

Before the fourteenth of September, 2003, the City was required to keep sidewalks maintained in a reasonable condition. After the new sidewalk laws were established it is established that the person owning the property that leads up to the sidewalk is liable for maintaining the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. The new laws also state that the owner of the property will be held liable should anyone become injured as a result of a sidewalk that has not been kept in a reasonably safe condition.

There remains a question of whether the new laws were put in place to relieve the city of all responsibilities in terms of liability for maintaining sidewalks. There is no information in the new law that suggests any type of change in the allocation of liability between the city and the owner of the premises that connects to the sidewalk.

Marcus Garvey’s motion for a summary judgment in the matter is based on the fact that the landowner will not be held liable for the condition of a sidewalk that has damages caused by the roots of a nearby tree. The evidence in this case was given by an engineer who inspected the area and stated that the condition that the sidewalk was in was caused by the roots of a tree that was located near the area. Further evidence includes color photographs that show the conditions of the sidewalk and the cause.

Defendant Marcus Garvey has not made prima facie to show that this evidence can be submitted in court. Furthermore, there is no evidence provided to show that the roots were the cause of the slip and fall by the plaintiff.

In regard to the City’s case for summary judgment they provide proof showing that the property in question is a residential property that has more than six units. They further show that the defendant Marcus Garvey, who owns the property is aware that he is not exempt from liability in the case.

If there was sufficient evidence to show that the fall was caused by the roots of the trees, The city would have the duty to maintain the sidewalk and could be held liable.

Case Conclusion

The court has reviewed all of the facts of the case. Upon doing so, it is found that there are triable issues of fact in regard to liability for the maintenance of the sidewalk. For this reason the motion for summary judgment is denied for both defendants.

If you need legal advice regarding a slip and fall contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our team of lawyers is happy to discuss your legal rights with you and determine the best course of action. Our offices are located conveniently throughout New York City. You may contact us at any time to set up a free consultation.

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