Is Fee Owner Liable for Workplace Injury During Building Demolition ?
In Holman v City of New York (181 Misc 2d 15), a case involving injury to a worker during the demolition of a building by a municipality, the court stated:
"This court is not unmindful of the numerous precedents which call for a 'bright-line' strict application of this absolute liability statute as to fee owners, but this court cannot blind itself to the fact that McDowell [the fee owner] was deprived of the rights and privileges of such ownership.
Not only was she denied any voice, or even a reasonable opportunity to seek a modification or judicial intervention, she was even summarily evicted from her own premises and advised that she had 'no rights.'
It could not have been within the contemplation of the Legislature to impose a nondelegable duty upon a fee owner, who not only did not delegate any such demolition rights, but even objected to and attempted to prevent the demolition."