When is the City of New York liable for a fall due to snow and ice on a sidewalk?
First, we must establish that the City is responsible for clearing the sidewalk.
The following rules apply:
- The City is liable if the adjoining property is an one-, two-, or three-family home. The building must be solely residential and occupied by the owner. If there is any commercial use, such as a store or doctor’s office, then the City is not liable, and the property owner would be liable.
- If the adjoining property does not fit the above description, then the adjoining property owner will be liable for negligent removal of snow and ice.
Therefore, consider the following examples:
- Two-family home which is strictly residential. Also, the owner occupies one of the units. The City would be liable.
- 1 Centre Street, the Municipal Building. The building is not residential and is owned by the City. New York City would be liable.
- 111 Broadway, an office building. The building owner would be liable.
- An empty lot on East 183rd Street in Bronx, New York. This would not be deemed a residence but a commercial property (undeveloped land). The owner would be responsible.
- A brownstone which has a certificate of occupancy for three units but actually has four units. The owner lives in one unit. In this case, the owner would liable.
- 295 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, New York, an apartment house of 50 units. The owner would be liable.
- The U.S. Courthouse at Foley Square. The property is not residential. The owner is the U.S.A., and it would be liable.
Therefore, a key consideration is who owns the adjoining property and whether it falls within the residential exception.
If you have been injured due to a fall from snow and ice, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark E. Seitelman, 1/18/11, www.seitelman.com.