Judge Edgardo Ramos

The Thayer Hotel is on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The government owns the Hotel and grounds. Under a 1998 agreement—comprising a contract, lease agreement and memorandum of understanding with Army entities—Hudson River Partners (HRP) assumed responsibility for Hotel’s operation and maintenance. The court dismissed plaintiff’s lawsuit to recover for injuries after falling on acorns. Under the agreement, the government retained only broad supervisory authority to ensure HRP’s compliance with its contractual duties. As to the roads and grounds of Hotel’s lease site, the government was responsible only for restoring surface disruption caused by subsurface repair or maintenance of existing utility lines. The Government performed no such repairs. All responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the sidewalk where plaintiff fell was delegated to HRP. Thus the government could not be held liable for her injuries. As the Federal Tort Claims Act precludes government liability absent a negligent act, the government could not be held liable—on the basis of a state law duty as a landowner to maintain property in a reasonably safe condition—for injuries caused by contractor Brickman Group’s failure to remove the acorns.