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French & Casey, LLP Litigation Partner Douglas R. Rosenzweig, Esq. Was Recently Successful In Obtaining Summary Judgment In Favor of The Firm’s Client Dismissing All Claims Interposed by Plaintiff and Con Edison

September 17, 2018 • Posted By • News

French & Casey, LLP litigation partner Douglas R. Rosenzweig, Esq. was recently successful in obtaining summary judgment in favor of the firm’s client dismissing all claims interposed by Plaintiff and Con Edison. 

Plaintiff’s accident occurred when she tripped and fell on a subway grate on Madison Avenue in April, 2010.  Con Edison initially admitted ownership of the grate, but withdrew the admission upon production of a plot plan from the mid-1990’s which contained a notation that the Owner of the property would be responsible to maintain the non-standard grating. 

During oral argument before Justice David B. Cohen, we argued that the plot plan was insufficient to transfer the duty to maintain the grate from Con Edison to the Property Owner, who had assumed ownership of the building in 2003.  We further argued that the records demonstrated that Con Edison continued to inspect the grate and had exclusive access to the grate during the two (2) years prior to the accident. 

Despite opposition from both Plaintiff and Con Edison, the Court ruled that in the absence of a written agreement between the parties transferring the duty of maintenance, the subsequent property owner did not owe a plaintiff a duty of care to maintain the non-standard grating.  As such, summary judgment was awarded to the Property Owner.

This case highlights the importance of obtaining accurate records regarding ownership, maintenance and control of grating.  The law is clear that the Owner of the grate has a non-delegable duty to keep them in good repair, but this responsibility can be transferred (or at least shared), provided there is a sufficient writing in place.