Published on:

Plaintiff Sues for Trip and Fall from Sidewalk Hazard, NY Appellate Court Awards Summary Judgement to Defendant


The plaintiffs in the case are Elaine Klau and Marvin L. Klau. The defendant in the case is Belair Building, LLC. The third party plaintiff is Belair Building, LLC. The third party defendants are National Grid and LIPA.

Plaintiff Argument

In August of the year 2009, the plaintiff, Elaine Klau, was walking on the public sidewalk located in front of 325 Shore Road, in Long Beach, New York. As she headed towards the east, her foot struck a “blob” of concrete that was located directly on top of a metal gas valve cap. When her foot struck the sidewalk she lost her balance and fell to the ground. She allegedly sustained personal injuries from the trip and fall.

The property that is adjacent to the sidewalk where the plaintiff fell is owned by the defendant, Belair Building LLC. The third party defendant, National Grid, owns the sidewalk gas valve and is responsible for maintenance of the gas valve that caused the plaintiff to fall.

A New York Injury Lawyer says the plaintiff is suing Belair Building LLC for the personal injuries she sustained during her fall. The verified complaint filed by the plaintiff refers to the Long Beach City Charter 256, which states that any landowner that has property that fronts any traveled road, street, highway, public alley, square, or lane, is responsible for maintaining the curbs, gutters, and sidewalks of the area.

Defendant Argument

Belair answered the verified complaint and denied the material allegations and offered various affirmative defenses. Belair then instituted a third party action against both National Grid and LIPA.

The defendant, Belair, moves for a summary judgment to dismiss the allegations made against them by the plaintiff. The defendant argues that it was the gas cap that caused the plaintiff to fall and that this is not part of the sidewalk that is subject to the City Charter Provision referenced by the plaintiff. A Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer said the defendant states that the defect was exclusively created by National Grid and therefore they are not responsible for maintenance of that area. National Grid has failed to file any papers in connection to the motion made by Belair.

Case Discussion

It is settled that a landlord may be held liable for injuries that are caused by a defect in the sidewalk that is adjacent to their property. This is only the case if the landlord created the potentially dangerous situation, made negligent repairs to the area, or caused the dangerous area to occur by special use of the area, or violated a statute that imposes liability to the property owner. The defendant must present prima facie verifying that they did not cause the dangerous situation or have knowledge that it existed.

Case Results

In this case, it is found that Belair Building LLC has proven prima facie in the case and that in fact, the potentially hazardous situation was caused by National Grid. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the Court has also considered the plaintiffs contentions in the case and has determined that they are not sufficient to defeat the motion for a summary judgment as made by Belair.

The Court rules in favor of the defendant and grants a summary judgment which dismisses the complaints against the company as well as any cross claims or counter claims that have been interposed against them.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates is a law office with several locations throughout the metropolitan area of New York. We offer a full line of legal services to individuals that find they need any type of legal representation. If you are currently experiencing any situation that may result in legal action, you may contact us at any time for a legal consultation.

Contact Information