When asked to defend a client in a premises liability case, the first question that most attorneys will ask is, “Where did the accident take place?” Until recently, the ideal client response would be that the accident occurred off of their property, which logically would imply that the client has no liability for the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Unfortunately, due to two recent decisions by the Appellate Division, the importance of the location where an accident occurred may or may not be dispositive of whether a client can be held liable for any injuries suffered by a plaintiff outside of their leased or owned property.
On November 5, 2012, the Appellate Division issued its decision in Kandrac v. Marrazzo’s Market at Robbinsville, Docket No. A-6081-10, in which a plaintiff filed suit against the landlord of a multi tenant shopping center and Marrazzo’s Market, a commercial tenant in the same shopping center. The plaintiff, a customer of Marrazzo’s, claimed she tripped and fell in a roadway that separated the store from the parking lot. Marrazzo’s lease provided that the landlord was to maintain all common areas, including the parking lots. Based upon the lease provisions, Marrazzo’s was granted summary judgment.
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