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Xiang Fu He v. Troon Management, Inc.

November 6, 2019 • Posted By • Complex Litigation

           The Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision on October 24, 2019, which held that the duty the maintain sidewalks in a “reasonably safe condition” under Section 7-210 of the NYC Administrative Code is non-delegable. Xiang Fu He v. Troon Management, Inc., 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 07643. 

          In Xiang Fu He, the Court held that property owners can no longer rely on their status as an “out-of-possession” property owner to avoid liability for injuries stemming from snow and ice on the sidewalk. Section 7-210 of the NYC Administrative Code is a commonly-used Administrative Code violation in personal injury actions. 

        The Court of Appeals held that “[Section 7-210 of the NYC Administrative Code] makes no exception for out-of-possession landowners and so we hold that the duty applies with full force notwithstanding an owner’s transfer of possession to a lessee or maintenance agreement with a nonowner. Thus, [out-of-possession owners] are not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law due solely to the owners’ out-of-possession status.”

        The Xiang Fu He decision upends a great deal of case law which held that out-of-possession property owners are not liable for injuries that occur on its property unless the property owner has retained control over the premises and has a duty imposed by statute or assumed by contract or a course of conduct. See Fox v. Patriot Saloon, 166 A.D.3d 950, 88 N.Y.S.3d 483 (2nd Dept. 2018).

By: Scott Laird, Esq.