Thomas N. Ryan, Esq. and Nicole C. Tracy, Esq., attorneys in Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group, recently prevailed in two Motions for Summary Judgment and shielded their business owner Client from a multi-million dollar damages claim.
The matter is a negligence case. Laddey, Clark & Ryan’s Client owns a commercial industrial property. The plaintiff, an employee of Client’s tenant, was injured on the job and sued Client, the commercial landlord and owner of the leased premises where the plaintiff’s injury was sustained, for allegedly failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition.
Ryan and Tracy argued that Client owed no legal duty to the plaintiff and that all claims plead against Client must be dismissed with prejudice. The Court agreed, finding that tenant assumed exclusive possession and control of the property. As such, the Court held that Client owed no duty to the plaintiff as a matter of law. The Court analogized the case to Baldwin Shields v. Ramslee Motors, a January 2020 Appellate Division opinion wherein the Court confirmed that commercial landlords may delegate, by contract, the duty to maintain and repair leased premises to their tenants.
In Ryan’s and Tracy’s second Motion for Summary Judgment, which was filed against the tenant of the leased premises, the Court held that the tenant was required to indemnify and reimburse Client for all fees and costs incurred in defending against the plaintiff’s claims, as well as for all fees and costs incurred in brining claims for contribution and indemnification against the tenant.