New York City’s laws can be a minefield regarding sidewalk falls and injury claims. We recently had a case illustrating this point.

Our client tripped on a raised flagstone in front of The New School, a private college, and was injured. It appears that the cement was raised due to a tree root that had pushed-up the cement block.

Under the recently enacted Administrative Code sec. 7-210, the adjoining premises owner would be liable for the condition of the sidewalk and related injuries. However, the City is responsible for the tree well and the tree.

We filed suit against the New School. In turn, the college filed a third-party action against the City claiming that the City’s tree uprooted the sidewalk, and that the City’s tree roots caused or contributed to the broken sidewalk and the injury to our client.

The City moved to dismiss stating that it had no liability for the sidewalk related injury and that responsibility falls on the adjoining property owner. The college claimed that the defect was caused by the City’s tree.

The Court ruled that responsibility resides with the private property owner. The City is out of the case. See the decision here.