Posted by Gary Burger on September 21, 2017 in Premises Liability
Gary: One of the other things that we encounter is — and you have to be careful about is — what about when you’re a tenant? What about when you’re injured on property that you lease from somebody? And this happens all the time. You’re hurt in your apartment. You’re hurt outside of your apartment. You are hurt on someone else’s property, but they rent the property. You’re hurt in someone’s store, but the store owner only leases the store from the building owner, who only leases the store from the property owner.
One of the things we have to do is we have to identify all the parties involved: Who owns the place, who doesn’t own the place? The other thing is that — and we have to sue those and name those people — we have a case right now. Joel, what did we have to do in the Nico Blakely case? Nico was injured when a brick fell through the ceiling of a hotel and landed on his head.
Joel: Well, we had to examine who owns the hotel. It’s the biggest question, and then after that, who manages the hotel, who manages the premises and takes care of the maintenance? And so all of these different parties are all at one percentage or another at fault for the accident that happened.
Gary: Right. And in fact, there’s a specific jury instruction in the Jury Instructions on Tenants Injured on Premises Reserved for Common Use, and there’s a whole set of laws on invitees and tenants and how that interrelates. And basically, if you’re in your apartment and you’re injured, it’s not the landlord’s fault. If you’re in a common area that is maintained by the landlord, then that is the landlord’s responsibility.
But with every rule there is an exception. There’s also the exception is if there’s an area of the apartment in the area that you are that the landlord fails to maintain and that injures you, then that is the landlord’s fault and they’re obligated to that too. Have you encountered that, John?
John: Not that particular situation, but we’ve had been reviewing a case where the landowner knew about the dangerous condition prior to leasing the facility to the tenant, so that’s another where the landowner could be held accountable.