News Brief

Levasseur and Kelly Obtain Summary Judgment in Premises Liability Action

November 5, 2019
Guy Levasseur (Partner-New York) and John Kelly (Associate-New York) recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a property management company in a premises liability action in the Supreme Court, New York County.  The infant plaintiff, a resident in the building managed by our client, fell several floors down an empty elevator shaft when the elevator doors opened but the cab was not present.  Although the parties disputed the exact cause of the accident, the court granted our motion and found that our client could not be found liable under an Espinal analysis. Specifically, the court held that Guy and John successfully demonstrated that our client did not launch an instrument of harm, did not entirely displace the co-defendant building owner’s duties, and the plaintiff did not detrimentally rely on our client to repair the elevator. The court also dismissed the contractual indemnification claims of the co-defendant elevator contractor and the building owner. This decision was particularly rewarding since the plaintiff’s counsel refused to accept any settlement offer below our client’s insurance policy limits at a private mediation earlier this year and while the motion was pending the settlement demand was $3 million. The case continues against the codefendant elevator company and building owner. In addition, one of the codefendants offered their full policy following the issuance of this decision.

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