Contractual indemnification key to successful defense of premises liability case.
We obtained summary judgment on behalf of a commercial tenant in a premises liability case. The plaintiff brought suit against our client, the commercial landlord and the City of Newark. The plaintiff alleged that the parties failed to maintain a condition of the sidewalk that caused a trip and fall. We moved for summary judgment for contractual indemnification, arguing that the co-defendant commercial landlord was obligated under the language of the lease to indemnify our client for the landlord’s own negligence. At oral arguments, we were able to establish that the language of the lease was clear and that it was undisputed that our client had no duty to the plaintiff. Furthermore, we were able to argue that the motion was not premature, as the co-defendant’s opposition conceded that, based on the language of the lease, we had no duty. The judge agreed with our arguments, and the court granted our motion for summary judgment and required the landlord to indemnify our client.