Slip and Fall Injury: Landlord and Non-Delegable Duty to Remove Snow and Ice
Docket No.: A-53
Decided January 23 2020
Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of New Jersey considered the issue of a slip and fall on ice and whether the landlord of the property had a non-delegable duty to remove the snow and ice when the commercial tenant had sole responsibility of removing snow and ice under the lease.
In Shields, Plaintiff Baldwin Shields was delivering a letter at 608 Tonnelle Avenue, Jersey City, when he slipped on ice and fell on the driveway. At the time, 608 Tonnelle Avenue was occupied by a commercial tenant, Ramslee Motors, a used car dealership. The lease agreement between the landlord and Ramslee Motors stated that Ramslee Motors was responsible for maintaining the property as if it were the “de facto owner.”
The trial court found that the landlord was not responsible for removing snow and ice from the property and granted the landlord’s motion for summary judgment. The Appellate Division disagreed. It found that the lease was silent as to who was responsible for snow and ice removal from the driveway and determined that, in any case, the landlord owed the same non-delegable duty to 3 maintain the driveway that it owed with respect to the sidewalks abutting the leased property.
The Supreme Court found that the lease’s provision that “TENANT shall maintain the leased premises” encompassed and delegated the duty of snow and ice removal from the driveway to the tenant. As such, the landlord could delegate the duty of removing snow and ice from the property to a tenant, especially when the tenant is given exclusive control over the property.
If you have been injured as a result of negligence on a part of someone else, such as a slip and fall in snow and ice on a property you do not own, you need to make sure you contact a personal injury attorney with knowledge of ownership and control in relationship to liability. Failing to consider these issues could result in your case be dismissed permanently. Do not hesitate to contact Hark & Hark today to discuss your personal injury.
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