Can I Sue the Land Owner if I am Injured on my Employer’s Leased Property?
I was injured on the job in the parking lot, or back yard, or inside the industrial property. Can I sue my employer? Can I sue the land owner? How can I recover for my injuries?
Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In this case the employee fell on company leased property. He tried to sue the land owner because of the standard Workers Compensation bar against suing your employer. The employee can make a workers compensation claim, however, you can not ‘sue’ the employer! His attorney tried to sue the land owner where the property was leased!
In this case the court examined the lease and threw the suit out! Why? Because, the precise issue presented here, which is whether a commercial landlord has a duty of care to invitees of its tenant, when the lease agreement between the landlord and tenant places responsibility for ordinary maintenance and repair of the premises upon the tenant. Here, as the judge recognized, that issue was specifically addressed in Geringer and McBride. In Geringer, we held that “‘there is no landlord liability’ for personal injuries suffered by a commercial tenant’s employee on the leased premises ‘due to a lack of proper maintenance or repair, when the lease unquestionably places responsibility for such maintenance or repair solely upon the tenant.'” Geringer, 388 N.J. Super. at 401 (quoting McBride, 295 N.J. Super. at 522).
Traditionally, a landlord is not responsible for the maintenance of leased premises; the tenant is liable for the condition of the premises. McBride, 295 N.J. Super. at 525. However, in McBride we recognized that two exceptions to the general rule had developed, which if met, extended a landlord’s duty of care to third persons injured on the leased premises. Ibid. Those exceptions pertain when: “(1) a landlord is responsible to use reasonable care with regard to portions of the leased premises which are ‘not demised and remain in the landlord’s control[,]'” and “(2) a landlord’s covenant to repair gives rise to a duty to the tenant . . . .” Ibid. (quoting Michaels v. Brookchester, Inc., 26 N.J. 379, 383-85 (1958)).
The lease in McBride provided that the tenant “is and shall be in exclusive control and possession of the premises and the [landlord] shall not in any event be liable for any injury or damage to any property or to any person happening on or about the premises . . . .” Id. at 524. It also required the tenant to make all repairs of the premises. Ibid. We concluded in McBride that neither of the delineated exceptions that would extend liability to the landlord were met. See id. at 526-27. The lease clearly granted the tenant exclusive control and possession of the leased premises and the landlord had no obligation to perform repairs. McBride, 295 N.J. Super. at 526-27. Therefore, the landlord had no liability for personal injuries suffered by tenant’s employee on the leased premises “due to a lack of proper maintenance or repair, when the lease unquestionably places responsibility for such maintenance or repair solely upon the tenant.” Id. at 522; see also Geringer, 388 N.J. Super. at 394.
As a result, you have to obtain the lease for the property in question where you were injured, only through an attorney and a claim, and proceed from there! You may be able to print that claim, but them again, you may not be able to! Contact Hark & Hark, because we have the knowledge skill and ability to provide you with the advise on how to proceed in these circumstances. Yes, we handle workers compensation claims, but we can also help you look into this very issue!