Voltaire v. City of New York

Citation2023 NY Slip Op 03040
Docket NumberIndex No. 704048/18,2020-06609
Decision Date07 June 2023
PartiesDominique Voltaire, Appellant, v. City of New York, et al., Respondents, et al., Defendant.
CourtNew York Supreme Court Appellate Division

Krentsel Guzman Herbert, LLP, New York, NY (Marcia K. Raicus and Mischel & Horn, P.C. [Scott T. Horn], of counsel) for appellant.

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, New York, NY (Timothy E Shanley of counsel), for respondents.

BETSY BARROS, J.P., VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, DEBORAH A. DOWLING BARRY E. WARHIT, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Joseph J. Esposito, J.), entered August 25, 2020. The order, insofar as appealed from, granted that branch of the motion of the defendants City of New York and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against them.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

The plaintiff commenced this action to recover damages for personal injuries that he allegedly sustained when he slipped and fell on water on the floor inside of Delta Cargo Warehouse Building 21 (hereinafter Building 21) at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The defendant City of New York is the owner of the airport property. It leased the property to the defendant Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (hereinafter Port Authority), which subleased Building 21 to Delta Airlines (hereinafter Delta).

The City and Port Authority (hereinafter together the defendants) moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and all cross-claims insofar as asserted against them, arguing that they were out-of-possession landlords with no duty to maintain, repair, or clean Building 21. The Supreme Court granted the motion. The plaintiff appeals.

Generally an owner or tenant in possession of real property owes a duty of care to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition (see Henry v Hamilton Equities, Inc., 34 N.Y.3d 136, 142; Gronski v County of Monroe, 18 N.Y.3d 374, 379; Sweeney v Hoey, 211 A.D.3d 1071, 1071-1072). That duty is premised on the exercise of control over the property, "as the person in possession and control of property is best able to identify and prevent any harm to others" (Gronski v County of Monroe, 18 N.Y.3d at 379 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Henry v Hamilton Equities, Inc., 34 N.Y.3d at 142). An owner or tenant who has transferred possession and control of leased premises is generally not liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions thereon in the absence of a duty imposed by statute or assumed by contract or a course of conduct (see Henry v Hamilton Equities, Inc., 34 N.Y.3d at 142-146; Sweeney v Hoey, ...

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