X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

ADDITIONAL CASES Livingston Builders Inc., Plaintiff, v. Nicholson & Galloway, Inc., Defendant; 595754/2019 Livingston Builders Inc. Plaintiff, v. Safway Atlantic, LLC, Defendant; 595911/2020 The following e-filed documents, listed by NYSCEF document number (Motion 003) 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 were read on this motion to/for                  SUMMARY JUDGMENT (AFTER JOINDER). DECISION ORDER ON MOTION In this action, plaintiff alleges that she sustained personal injuries when she was hit by a tree branch as she was walking on the sidewalk adjacent to the property located at 125 East 70th Street on October 24, 2017. Pending before the court is a motion filed by defendant Education 70 LLC, (the “defendant”), who owned the residence in front of which the incident occurred. The defendant seeks an order, pursuant to CPLR §3212, granting summary judgment in its favor and dismissing plaintiff’s Complaint against defendant. Specifically, defendant argues that it did not engage in any maintenance of the tree that caused plaintiff’s injuries; it is not responsible for the maintenance of the tree that caused plaintiff’s injuries; it did not have any involvement in the planting or cultivation of the tree adjacent to the subject premises; and it is not responsible for the maintenance or upkeep of the City-owned tree that is located near the street adjacent to the subject premises. Upon the foregoing documents, this motion is DENIED with leave to re-file upon completion of further discovery. The function of the court when presented with a motion for summary judgment is one of issue finding, not issue determination (Sillman v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 3 N.Y.2d 395 [NY Ct. of Appeals 1957]; Weiner v. Ga-Ro Die Cutting, Inc., 104 A.D.2d331 [1st Dept. 1985]). The proponent of a motion for summary judgment must tender sufficient evidence to show the absence of any material issue of fact and the right to entitlement to judgment as a matter of law (Alvarez v. Prospect Hospital, 68 N.Y.2d 320 [NY Ct. of Appeals 1986]; Winegrad v. New York University Medical Center, 64 N.Y.2d 851 [NY Ct. of Appeals 1985]). Summary judgment is a drastic remedy that deprives a litigant of his or her day in court. Therefore, the party opposing a motion for summary judgment is entitled to all favorable inferences that can be drawn from the evidence submitted and the papers will be scrutinized carefully in a light most favorable to the non-moving party (Assaf v. Ropog Cab Corp., 153 A.D.2d 520 [1st Dept. 1989]). Summary judgment will only be granted if there are no material, triable issues of fact (Sillman v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 3 N.Y.2d 395 [NY Ct. of Appeals 1957]). As defendant correctly argues, New York City Administrative Code section 18-105 provides, generally, that trees in streets are under the exclusive care and cultivation of the commissioner; and section 7-210 carves out an exemption for residential homeowners of owner-occupied one, two or three-family properties which, generally, relieves such homeowners of liability for failure to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. Notwithstanding the above provisions however, photos of the site, as produced by plaintiff, show that significant renovation was occurring with respect to the building owned by defendant. Specifically, the photos show that a large scaffold “bridge” had been erected, including a tin roof, heavy wooden beams, and metal poles to support it. The photos also show the presence of a construction crane and that the tree in this case was encased by a wooden structure that is approximately 6 feet tall. As plaintiff rightly contends, a number of questions remain including, inter alia, why the tree branch fell; whether the tree was damaged because of the construction, removal, or use of the sidewalk bridge, or any other activity related to the renovation; which party erected the wooden structure that encased the tree and whether such erection disturbed the tree as to cause the branch to fall. These are all issues of fact, for which there remain outstanding questions. Accordingly, the motion is denied at this time, with leave to re-file upon discovery.1 Defendant further argues that any liability would fall not on defendant as owner, but on codefendant Livingston Builders, the independent contractor who was renovating the property. Defendant is correct that, generally, a principal will not be held liable for the actions of its independent contractors (Adams v. Hilton Hotels, Inc., 13 A.D.3d 175 [Sup. Ct. App. Div. 1st Dept. 2004] ["It is settled that ordinarily a principal is not liable for the acts of an independent contractor because, unlike the master-servant relationship, principals cannot control the manner in which independent contractors perform their work."]). However, there are exceptions to this rule (Saini v. Tonju Assocs., 299 A.D.2d 244 [Sup. Ct. App. Div. 1st Dept. 2002] ["The numerous exceptions to this rule, which, for the most part, are derived from public policy concerns, fall roughly into three basic categories: where the employer is negligent in selecting, instructing or supervising the independent contractor; where the independent contractor is hired to do work which is "inherently dangerous"; and where the employer bears a specific, nondelegable duty.]) Here, it is unclear at this time whether any of these exceptions apply. Accordingly, this motion is DENIED at this time, and defendant Education 70 LLC is given leave to re-file after further discovery has been conducted. This is the order of the court. CHECK ONE: CASE DISPOSED X  NON-FINAL DISPOSITION                 GRANTED X                    DENIED       GRANTED IN PART        OTHER APPLICATION:  SETTLE ORDER    SUBMIT ORDER CHECK IF APPROPRIATE:             INCLUDES TRANSFER/REASSIGN     FIDUCIARY APPOINTMENT              REFERENCE Dated: January 12, 2021

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Legalweek(year) 2021

February 02, 2021 - July 14, 2021
Virtual

Legalweek(year) will bring together thousands of legal professionals for a series of 5 innovative virtual legal events.


Register

New York Legal Awards 2021

October 21, 2021
New York, NY

The New York Law Journal honors attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in New York.


Register

Dispute Resolution Forum 2021

June 16, 2021
Virtual

Legal professionals from In-House, Private Practice and the Bar work together to overcome challenges facing dispute resolution.


Register

Associate Position - Professional Liability Department

Philadelphia, New Jersey, United States

Philadelphia and Mt. Laurel, NJ Offices: Post & Schell, P.C. is looking for Associates for the Firm's expanding Professional Liabil...


Apply Now ›

Trusts And Estates Paralegal - Anderson Kill, New York Office

New York, New York, United States

This role requires providing paralegal support and assistance to attorneys in the management, coordination, and administration of all aspect...


Apply Now ›

Attorney - LItigation - INHOUSE

Washington D.C., District of Columbia, United States

PERMANENT/FULL-TIME:    Come join a thriving company in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC!     The company's l...


Apply Now ›

MARTIN CLEARWATER & BELL, LLP

06/15/2021
NYLJ Web

MARTIN, CLEARWATER & BELL LLP COUNSELORS AT LAW IN MEMORY OF FRANCIS PETER BENSEL


View Announcement ›

GILL & CHAMAS

06/14/2021
NJLJ Web

GILL & CHAMAS Congratulations to our partner and friend,DAVID H. LANDE, ESQ on his appointment to Judge in the Division of Workers Compensation.


View Announcement ›

MANDELBAUM SALSBURG PC

06/07/2021
NJLJ Web

Please to announce that....


View Announcement ›