Hurley v. Related Management Co – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Hurley v. Related Management Co., 74 AD3d 648, 904 N.Y.S.2d 41 (1st Dept 2010), a pedestrian brought an action against property owners and Con Ed for injuries sustained in an alleged slip and fall on a sidewalk metal grate.

At issue on appeal was "whether sidewalk metal grating is part of the 'sidewalk' for purposes of section 7-210, which requires owners of real property to maintain abutting sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition" (id. at 648-49).

The plaintiff's testimony established that she fell as a result of an alleged slippery condition of a sidewalk grate and it was undisputed that Con Ed owned the grate and vault it covered.

After examining the relevant rules governing the maintenance and repair of sidewalk grates (see New York City Department of Transportation Highway Rule 34 RCNY § 2-07 placing maintenance and repair responsibilities on the owners of covers or gratings), the First Department concluded:

"We find that § 7-210 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York does not impose liability upon a property owner for failure to maintain a sidewalk grate in a reasonably safe condition. The defendant property owners have 'established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that they did not have exclusive access to, or the ability to exercise control over, the grate on which . . . plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell' Breland v. Bayridge Air Rights, Inc., 65 AD3d 559, 560, 884 NYS2d 143 (2009)" (Hurley, 74 AD3d at 649.)