Summary Judgment in NJ Real Estate E&O Case
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a condominium association and its property manager for injuries suffered by a tenant of one of the condominium owners. The plaintiff, who suffered a trimalleolar fracture resulting in three surgeries, including a total ankle replacement, slipped and fell on ice while traversing the public sidewalk abutting the condominiums. The plaintiff argued that summary judgment was not appropriate because the condominium association failed to replace a section of the sidewalk that had settled, creating a pooling condition that could freeze over. The plaintiff produced an expert report, which opined the settlement was caused by the improper design and defective construction of the sidewalk and curb. The defense successfully argued that the condominium association is a residential property owner for purposes of sidewalk liability and that the association has no duty to maintain the sidewalk. Further, the defense responded that the sidewalk and curb were designed and constructed by the township and its contractors, rather than the association, and there was no evidence the settlement was caused by the association’s affirmative act. The trial court agreed.