In sidewalk accidents there is always the central issue as to who is liable.
When tripping on a defective sidewalk near a manhole cover, grating, or sidewalk vault, who is liable?
Is it the City? Or is it the adjoining property owner? Or another party? E.g., Con Ed, New York City Transit Authority, or Cablevision?
The answer is the owner of the vault, manhole, or grating.
The owner of the manhole cover, vault, or grate is responsible for the area of twelve inches outward from the perimeter of the cover or grating. See Rules of the City of New York Department of Transportation, 34 RCNY 2-07 (b)(2).
A recent case, Storper v. Kobe Club, held that the owner of a vault cover, the MTA, could not shift liability to the adjoining premises owner. The Appellate Division stated that the the MTA and premises owner would not be concurrently liable and that the MTA could not shift or share liability with the abutting property owner.
If you have been injured in a sidewalk accident, please feel free to call us for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark E. Seitelman, 10/10/10 (revised 11/11/10), www.seitelman.com.