In an all too familiar fact pattern, the plaintiff, an employee of a retail tenant of the firm commenced suit against his employer’s out of possession landlord for personal injuries resulting from a transient dangerous condition. In an effort to supplement their recovery under the Worker’s Compensation Act, the plaintiff in this action sought to establish liability on the part of an absentee or out of possession landlord.

For such a claim the succeed, New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has repeatedly held that “an out-of-possession owner or lessor is not liable for injuries that occur on a premises unless that entity gained control of the premises or is contractually obligated to repair the unsafe condition. Putnam v. Stout, 38 N.Y.2d 607, 345 N.E.2d 319, 381 N.Y.S.2d 848 (Court of Appeals 1976); Carvano v. Morgan, 270 A.D.2d 222, 703 N.Y.S.2d 534 (2nd Dept. 2000); McDonald v. Riverbay Corp., 308 A.D.2d 345, 764, N.Y.S.2d 185 (1st Dept. 2003).

Partner David Goldman of Sobel Pevzner, LLC secured summary judgment dismissing the Complaint establishing that an out-of-possession landlord owes no duty of care to an aggrieved plaintiff.  This 2011 lawsuit involved a claim brought by an employee of the tenant who leased the building from the subject landlord.  In this matter, the employee was injured on the premises when they were caused to slip and fall on a puddle of water as the result of a water leak in the basement.


The facts of this matter were abundantly clear, wherein the landlord had established no control over the property or notice of the alleged defect they had no duty to maintain same. Moreover, the lease was shown to impose no duty of ordinary maintenance of the loss location.  As counsel for plaintiff failed to rebut these factual assertions, the court was in full agreement with the arguments put forth by defense counsel and dismissed the Complaint.









David Goldman – Partner

Sobel Pevzner, LLC