VBPNP Secures Summary Judgment Win on Behalf of Out of Possession Landlord

On November 6, 2019, Vasilios Lolis, with the help of Thomas Jaffa and Neil Mascolo, secured summary judgment in favor of an out-of-possession landlord in Supreme Court, Kings County. Plaintiff claimed that the defendant was negligent in allowing a defect in the structure and design of a car wash to exist, causing plaintiff to be struck by a vehicle in the course of his employment at the car wash. Mr. Lolis argued that an out-of-possession landlord, which was not contractually or statutorily obligated to make repairs to the property, owed no duty to the plaintiff. The Honorable Lara J. Genovesi held that the Defendant established its entitlement to summary judgment through documentary evidence that the landlord only retained the right to enter the land for inspection purposes, and testimony that the landlord was only on the property when government inspections of the abutting gas station were held.

Mr. Lolis further argued that the case did not arise out of premises liability based on a structural or design defect, as the plaintiff had pled it, but rather a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident. Pointing to Margolin v. Friedman, Court of Appeals precedent cited by Mr. Lolis, the court held that the premises merely furnished the condition or occasion for the occurrence of the event, and that plaintiff’s injuries were proximately caused by the negligence of a driver, rather than a structural or design defect of the car wash. The court’s dismissal provided our clients a meritorious, and cost-effective resolution to what would have otherwise been a costly and lengthy trial process.